Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Frederick Valentich

Real Name: Frederick Valentich
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Cape Otway, Australia
Date: October 21, 1978


Occupation: Pilot
Date of Birth: 1958
Height: Unrevealed
Weight: Unrevealed
Marital Status: Dating
Characteristics: Caucasian male

Mysterious object as described by Frederick in the reenactment


Details: Twenty-year-old Australian pilot Frederick Valentich had been flying for two years, accumulating over 150 hours of solo time. He hired a plane from Southern Air Services from Moorabbin, Australia. He had dreams of one day becoming a commercial pilot. At 6:19pm on October 21, 1978, he took off from Moorabbin Airport, near Melbourne, in a Cessna 182 light aircraft.
Frederick planned to fly west for forty minutes along the Australian coast. At Cape Otway, he would head south over Bass Strait towards King Island. It was a route that he had flown many times before. However, while flying over Bass Strait near Cape Otway, he sighted what seemed to be a UFO flying nearby in the vicinity. Upon seeing it, he maintained radio contact with Melbourne Air Services for several minutes, describing it as it darted and swerved around him. It appeared to be green and long-shaped. He stated that it was traveling at speeds faster than he had ever seen before. The air traffic controller believed that he was concerned about it. At one point, it was "chasing" him, and "playing some sort of game" above his plane. All of a sudden, it disappeared.
A few seconds later, the object returned from the southwest. Suddenly, Frederick's engines started malfunctioning. Finally, he stated, "It's hovering and it's not an aircraft". These were the last words that the air traffic controller heard from him. After that, he heard several mysterious clicking noises. Then he heard no more noises from him or his plane. He was never seen or heard from again.
An extensive water search began for Frederick and his plane. However, no trace of either was ever found. Later, a witness, who asked to remain anonymous, came forward. He claimed that he was traveling with his family when they noticed unusual activity in the sky. He saw a lime-green light flying about a hundred feet above a small aircraft. Both flew closer to each other before disappearing from his view.

Roy Manifold's photograph of the UFO

Six weeks after Frederick's disappearance, amateur photographer Roy Manifold came forward. He claimed that on that evening, he had set up a camera at Cape Otway, planning to take pictures of the sunset. In the last one, there was a black spot in the upper right corner. At first, he believed that it was a developing error. However, a photo examiner found no dirt or damage on the negative. The strange mark was determined to be in the photograph. American photo analysts determined that it was a metallic object, apparently in a cloud of exhaust. It was apparently a mile from the camera. The Kodak lab in Coburg studied the negative and reported no problem with the emulsion or the development of the negative.
To date, Frederick's disappearance has never been adequately explained. The object that he apparently sighted has never been identified.
Suspects: One theory is that Frederick was abducted by the object he encountered. Another theory is that he was attacked by it or became disoriented after seeing it and crashed into the sea.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the September 29, 1993 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Frederick has since been declared legally dead. No trace of him or his plane has ever been found until 1983 when an engine cowl flap from the same type of Cessna as his plane washed ashore at Flinders Island, over 300 kilometers from his last known position. It had a partial serial number on it that did not match the serial number from his plane. Several people believe that it came from his plane, but this has not been conclusively determined as other similar planes had lost the same part in the same area in the early 1980s. The flap was from a plane that had been resprayed. DSJ was never resprayed. It was discovered very near the airport runway on Flinders Island.
Recently, some have speculated that Frederick became disoriented after seeing a bright planet, the stars, or a meteor shower in the sky. Another theory is that he became inverted mid-flight and saw reflections off of the water. This theory has not been confirmed.
Sadly, his father, Guido, passed away in 2000.