At 19:12 hours, a Search and Rescue alert was given. Valentich was nowhere to be found, as he did not make his final destination to King Island as planned. The time was now 19:33 hours. A rescue team scoured both land and sea. An aerial search was undertaken by two RAAF P-3 Orions, which continued to look for Valentich for a period of seven days.
The search to locate the lost pilot continued all the way to October 25th, 1978. No piece of the aircraft was ever retrieved. His aircraft also had four life jackets aboard, as well as an emergency radio beacon, which was fashioned to stay on top of water for a specific amount of time. None of these objects were ever found.
The Department of Transport launched an investigation into the disappearance of Valentich, which dragged on for two weeks. A cause to his disappearance was never determined. It was obviously presumed that Valentich did not live through whatever ordeal he encountered in the sky. It took investigators until April 27th, 1982 to actually publish a summary report dealing with the findings.
Throughout the pages, the radio traffic communication that took place on October 21st between Valentich and the Flight Control Unit in Melbourne was also detailed.
What About the Weird Sounds?
When Valentich spoke to controllers in Melbourne, his last transmission consisted of an unknown series of sounds that was described as a “metallic scraping sound.” The Department of Transport had these noises recorded on ATC tapes. Researchers were allowed to analyze the tapes, as they got a hold of full copies of the original voice tapes from the Department of Transport, as well as evidence that the pilot’s father had in his possession. Overall, the significance of the sounds was never concretely determined.
Was it a UFO?
When news of Valentich’s disappearance spread across the public, an assortment of individuals stepped forward and submitted reports that they witnessed strange activity in the air. About 20 people claimed that they caught sight of an oddly moving green light that decorated the sky. One report mentioned that it was detected around 2 kilometers west of Apollo Bay, where a green light could be seen following a plane in the sky. UFO researchers believe that the reports and what Valentich described are connected and could be used to establish more evidence that Valentich experienced a Close Encounter of the First Kind.
No remains of Valentich were found. His plane was nowhere to be seen. It is like the man vanished without a trace, leaving behind an eerie conversation that has left a lot of unanswered questions. This hasn’t stopped the masses from coming up with a multitude of explanations as to what happened to the pilot. Some people believe that Valentich unfortunately met his end with a group of drug smugglers, who killed the young man. Others feel he met his end as he was struck by lightening hailing from a lenticular cloud (which are found at high altitudes). A more dramatic twist is that Valentich was actually setting the scene for a suicide.
But there are many people who believe Valentich encountered an extraterrestrial aircraft that had UFOlogists interested in getting to the bottom of his disappearance. Die-hard speculators believe aliens abducted him or the green light was powerful enough to completely destroy his aircraft. One may never know to truth.