VICE World News has obtained alleged police footage of a UFO.
Leaked by a government source with knowledge of the incident, the 55-second video was purportedly captured by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) cruiser’s dashcam early on April 24, 2011 in Selkirk, Manitoba. The recording simply shows the hood of a vehicle, a town, and a lighted object traversing a dark sky.
In a publicly available report, the police officer described seeing “an unidentified bright yellow and orange light… and stated this was not an aircraft.” While it may have an ordinary explanation, the sighting still prompted the RCMP to call air traffic controllers in Winnipeg, about 40 km away, who then reviewed radar data before sending a “vital intelligence” report to Canadian air force personnel with NORAD, the joint Canada-U.S. defence group.
Air traffic controllers also notified the federal transportation department, which published the short public report in CADORS, a government aviation incident database that contains dozens of UFO accounts from professional pilots and the Canadian military. CADORS is operated by Transport Canada, where VICE World News’ source worked at the time of the 2011 case.
Frustrated with their employer’s apparent lack of follow-up, they reached out to the RCMP witness, who provided a CD-R with the video. On condition of anonymity, a digital copy was sent to VICE World News for public release and analysis. Unfortunately, no higher resolution is available.
The RCMP declined to comment on the case, citing a lack of available data. Transport Canada and the Canadian military also declined. VICE World News has been unable to reach the police officer.
In May 2011, an identical 55-second video was also acquired by prominent Canadian ufologist Chris Rutkowski.
“This one was really interesting,” Rutkowski told VICE World News from Winnipeg. “I investigated it personally.”
A previous VICE World News investigation showed how the civilian UFO researcher and science writer has received reports directly from the Canadian government and military for more than 20 years. In this case, Rutkowski says he obtained information from Transport Canada and the Canadian air force, including the police officer’s contact details and a “vital intelligence sightings” report that references RCMP “dash camera” footage and a “single yellow/orange ball of light.”
“I contacted the constable immediately and interviewed him by phone,” Rutkowski recalled. “I asked to see the video and he burned a copy and snail mailed it to me.”
Rutkowski describes the RCMP officer as “very matter-of-fact and professional.” According to Rutkowski’s notes, the witness thought the object looked “like a Cessna on fire.”
Despite a lack of red, green, or flashing lights and the RCMP constable’s insistence it wasn’t a conventional aircraft, Rutkowski said Transport Canada data shows there’s a “good possibility” they saw a passing chartered plane, and that it’s “likely that the running lights were washed out by the city glow.”
“I have shown the video to students and academics in the context of my teaching and research,” Rutkowski said. “It always generated good discussion and debate, with many people very impressed with it.”
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The Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU) is a think tank dedicated to applying scientific principles to unidentified aerospace phenomena research. Engineer and founding SCU board member Robert Powell has studied the topic for nearly 15 years and agreed to review the leaked video.
Powell said nothing about it suggests the police officer observed something extraordinary, but he doubts it was a plane.
“If an aircraft is flying towards you with its landing light, then you can see just a bright white light. But this object was not traveling directly towards the witness,” Powell said from Austin, Texas. “The object does not fit the appearance of an aircraft in my opinion.”
Based on available information, Powell’s best guess is a floating paper lantern.
“Historical weather data shows a light wind out of the west in Selkirk at the time,” Powell explained. “This would line up with the object’s eastward movement and its appearance of an orange glow similar to a ball of flame.”
Both Powell and Rutkowski have experimented with floating lanterns, but differ in their conclusions.
“A single paper lantern at 2:15 a.m. in April in Manitoba is very, very unlikely,” Rutkowski said.
Transport Canada routinely cautions that reports in its aviation incident database “contain preliminary, unconfirmed data which can be subject to change.” In an April VICE World News story, a spokesperson said, “reports of unidentified objects can rarely be followed up on as they are as the title implies, unidentified.”
In the United States, federally funded UFO research programs have existed almost continuously since 2007. This June, American intelligence officials even released a public report on recent U.S. military UFO encounters, which have included objects that appeared to “maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernible means of propulsion.”
Canadian military personnel have also been reporting UFOs for nearly 70 years, but according to a defence spokesperson, Canada’s forces do “not typically investigate sightings of unknown or unexplained phenomena outside the context of investigating credible threats, potential threats, or potential distress in the case of search and rescue.”
“Even if this was only a lantern,” Powell said, “if a police officer, pilot or someone in the military asks for an official response on an unrecognizable object flying through the sky, they deserve an answer.”
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