Monday March 24th 1997 was a cold spring evening with a bright full moon and clear skies above Northern England. Not long after dark, around the
Howden Moor area of the Peak District, a series of peculiar events were about to unfold. The Hale Bopp comet was visible in the skies and had
attracted a number of serious and casual observers to venture out. People in the nearby areas, such as Sheffield, reported hearing sonic booms,
seeing bright flashes in the sky, low flying aircraft and lights throughout the night. There were even reports of a black, triangular UFO seen in the
skies that night. It was later speculated that it was being pursued by RAF Tornado jet fighters as part of an intercept mission to add to the
courtesy Google Earth.
Later in the evening a number of independent witnesses reported a single aircraft apparently crashing into the moor land areas to the east of the
Ladybowen and Howden Reservoirs and hearing a loud explosion. Was a UFO defending itself against the fighters, eventually forcing one down with some
kind of exotic weapon? Did the crippled aircraft plunge into the Howden Reservoir or the soft peat moor lands nearby?
Shortly after dusk the reports of low flying aircraft and or strange lights and sounds began.
According to various witnesses an approximate timeline is:
6.30pm approx - Around dusk - A Park Ranger in Derbyshire hears “an horrendous noise” in the sky.
7.40pm – Bryan Haslam, travelling by train in the Barnsley area, sees “a triangle shaped object with lights all around it hovering…”. He told
police “"There's no point in you looking for a crashed plane, it definitely wasn't a plane."
8.30pm – Gavin Stewart, a motorist on the M62 in West Yorkshire, oberves what he believes to be an aircraft in a nose dive disappear over a ridge.
He expects to see flames but saw nothing more. Around the same time another driver, Paul Bradley, on the A61 - Chesterfield bypass sees a formation
of three military jets headed towards the Derbyshire moors.
9.30pm – Tony Moore and Paul Byson are watching the Hale Bopp comet from the Shiregreen area of Sheffield. They see a formation of fighter jets
flying directly above them in the direction of Derbyshire. A number of other witnesses, including a radio reporter from Hallam FM, report hearing
“a loud humming noise” on the Peak District moors.
9.45pm approx - A former RAF officer, John Brassington, reports to police that "Two RAF jets came over low and fast then a twin engine plane circled
twice over Dronfield. Those jets were so low they shook the foundations of my house”. At the same time a Mr. Rhodes states seeing a glowing orange
object going over Mosborough.
9.55pm – Multiple reports from Dronfield, Derbyshire of aircraft travelling in a north direction towards the Peak District that describe a jet
aircraft and at least one light aircraft. Emma Maidenhead also describes a triangle object, wide as the street; really bright and just above the
rooftops flying pretty slow heading for the moors.
10.00pm - A woman on the outskirts of Sheffield sees a long dark cigar shaped object flying in a across the moors towards the Peak District
surrounded by an eerie “glow” like it was on fire, low and almost at rooftop level.
MORE WITNESS REPORTS
10.05pm –A South Yorkshire Police Special Constable, Marie-France Tattersfield, sees a light aircraft coming down ,no higher than 500 feet with its
windows lit up and then disappears behind some tall conifers. She also hears a loud boom in the area.
10.06pm – Mike and Barbara Ellisione are watching TV and hear ,“a terrific explosion” ,in the sky outside their home on the moors. After an
initial sweep of the moors they phone 999 (emergency services) to report an explosion which is logged by Sheffield Police incident room
10.10pm - A farmer and his mother at Edge End Farm, Bolsterstone see what they believe to be an aircrash, an orange glow, followed by several plumes
of smoke and detect “a strong smell of burning”.
10-10.15pm - John Littlewood, on the moor in his four-wheel drive vehicle spots what looks like an old wartime plane making a loud humming noise.
10.30-11pm – Sharon Aldridge and friend, Joanne at Boot’s Folly on a hill above the Strines Reservoir hear what Sharon describes as “a weird
10.35pm – Teenagers, Leon Rockley and Alex Hardy, film a low-flying light aircraft. Police examine the footage but cannot identify the plane and
don’t take their inquiry any further.
10.54pm - A Derbyshire Police traffic patrol unit report seeing “a plume of smoke” rising into the air to the west of the Woodhead area while
heading for the suspected crash zone. Unexplained smoke is spotted later near the Strines Inn and fire crews are asked to direct a spotlight in the
direction from which the smoke appeared. The West Yorkshire Police helicopter (Y99) searches the area but finds nothing.
11.15pm approx – Snake Pass on the small viaduct over Ladybower reservoir. A mini-bus is flagged down by a man stinking of what smelled like
"aviation fuel". He is not allowed onboard as the bus is already full. A passenger reports the incident to police.
11.45pm approx –Businessman, Dan Grayson sees “a bright red light stationary in the sky” towards Glossop.
....continued in Part II
edit on 28-8-2012 by mirageman because: formatting
edit on 28-8-2012 by mirageman because: formatting