a reply to: The angel of light
The following is an official transcript of the conversation between Captain Schaffner and the Radar station at Staxton Wold:
(September 8th 1970)
Schaffner: I have visual contact, repeat visual contact. Over.
Staxton: Can you identify aircraft type?
Schaffner: Negative, nothing recognisable, no clear outlines. There is ... bluish light. Hell that's bright ... very bright.
Staxton: Are your instruments functioning, 94? Check compass. Over.
Schaffner: Affirmative, GCI (ground control). I'm alongside it now, maybe 600ft off my ... Jeeze, that's bright, it hurts my eyes to look at it for
more than a few seconds.
Staxton: How close are you now?
Schaffner: About 400ft, he's still in my three o' clock. Hey wait ... there's something else. It's like a large soccer ball. It's like it's made of
Staxton: Is it part of the object or independant? Over.
Schaffner: It ... no, it's separate from the main body ... the conical shape ... it's at the back end, the sharp end of the shape. It's like bobbing
up and down and going from side to side slowly. It maybe the power source. There's no sign of ballistics.
Staxtion: Is there any sign of occupation? Over.
Schaffner: Negative, nothing.
Staxton: Can you assess the rate?
Schaffner: Contact in gentle descent. Am going with it...50...no about 70ft ... it's levelled out again.
Staxton: Is the ball object still with it? Over.
Schaffner: Affirmative. It's not actually connected ... maybe a magnetic attraction to the conical shape. There's a haze of light. Ye'ow ... it's
within heat haze. Wait a second, it's turning... coming straight for me... am taking evasive action...a few...I can hardly...
Staxton: 94? Come in 94. Foxtrot 94, are you receiving? Over. Come in 94. Over.
Schaffner: GCI ... are you receiving? Over.
Staxton: Affirmative 94. What is your condition? Over.
Schaffner: Not too good. I can't think what has happened... I feel kinda dizzy... I can see shooting stars.
Staxton: Can you see your instruments? Over.
Schaffner: Affirmative, but er...the compass is useless.
Staxton: Foxtrot 94, turn 043 degrees. Over.
Schaffner: Er ... all directional instruments are out, repeat useless. Over.
Staxton: Roger 94, execute turn right, estimate quarter turn. Over.
Schaffner: Turning now.
Staxton: Come further 94. That's good. Is your altimeter functioning? Over.
Schaffner: Affirmative GCI.
Staxton: Descend to 3,500ft. Over.
Schaffner: Roger GCI.
Staxton: What's your fuel state 94? Over.
Schaffner: About 30 per cent GCI.
Staxton: That's what we calculated. Can you tell us what happened 94? Over.
Schaffner: I don't know. It came in close ... I shut my eyes ... I figure I must've blacked out for a few seconds.
Staxton: OK 94. Standby.
At this stage the Shackleton arrived over Flamborough Head and began circling before XS894 was vectored into the area by the Staxton controllers.
Schaffner: Can you bring me in GCI? Over.
Staxton: Er... Hold Station, 94. Over.
Staxton: Foxtrot 94. Can you ditch aircraft? Over.
Schaffner: She's handling fine. I can bring her in. Over.
Staxton: Negative 94. I repeat, can you ditch aircraft? Over.
Schaffner: Yeah ... I guess.
Staxton: Standby 94. Over. Oscar 77. Over.
Shackleton: 77. Over.
Staxton: 94 is ditching. Can you maintain wide circuit. Over.
Shackleton: Affirmative GCI. Over.
Staxton: Thanks 77. Stanby 94, execute ditching proceedure at your discretion. Over.
Schaffner: Descending now, GCI. Over.
Between six and seven minutes then elapsed.
Shackleton: He's down, GCI. Hell of a splash ... he's down in one piece though. Over.
Staxton: Can you see the pilot yet? Over.
Shackleton: Negative. We're going round again, pulling a tight one.
Two minutes later.
Shackleton: The canopy's up ... she's floating OK ... can't see the pilot. We need a chopper out here, GCI. No, no sign of the pilot. Where the
Staxton: You sure he's not in the water, 77. Check your SARBE receptions. Over. (NOTE: SARBE was the Search and Rescue Beacon Equipment carried by all
Shackleton: No SARBE yet. No flares either. Hang on. We're going round again.
Another two minutes elapsed.
Shackleton: GCI. Over.
Staxton: Receiving you 77. Over.
Shackleton: This is odd, GCI. She's sinking fast but ... the canopy's closed up again. Over.
Staxton: Can you confirm pilot clear of aircraft? Over.
Shackleton: He's not in it, we can confirm that. He must be in the water somewhere.
Staxton: Any distress signals or flares yet? Over.
Shackleton: Negative GCI. Going round again. Over.
Ninety seconds later the crew of the Shackleton were back in contact with Staxton Wold.
Shackleton: She's sunk GCI. There's a slight wake where she was. Still no sign of the pilot. I say again GCI, we need a chopper here fast. Over.
Staxton: A Whirlwind's on its way from Leconfield. Are you positive you saw no sign of the pilot?. Over.
Shackleton: Nothing GCI. The first pass we assumed he was unstrapping. He must have got out as we went round for a second pass ... but why shut the
Staxton: That's what we were thinking. Maintain patrol 77, he must be there somewhere. Over.
Shackleton: Roger GCI. Over.
Thanks for your attention,
The Angel of Lightness