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 Case summary

The following is extracted from an article that appeared in the French language UFO journal Inforespace, published by the Belgian Société Belge d'Etude des Phénomènes Spatiaux (SOBEPS). The text in question is a letter written by a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Belgian Army, and addressed to the national Ministry of Defense on December 19, 1989. The events related in the letter took place on December 11, 1989, one of the peak days of the Belgian UFO wave. The Lieutenant-Colonel and his wife had spotted a strange object in the sky while driving on a deserted country road from the village of Ernage to the city of Gembloux (province of Namur), where they were to pick up their son at the train station. The translation is kept as literal as possible.

This statement is based on a sighting I had and which occurred on December 11, 1989, at about 18 h 45, when I was driving toward the train station in Gembloux, coming from Ernage where I reside. My wife Chantal accompanied me and was also a witness to the events. The night had fallen. The sky was starry. It was full moon.

As we approach the farmhouse of Sart-Ernage, I notice something in the sky. On my right, and in the direction of the third row of trees situated behind the farm, there is a series of three or four panels of light travelling in a general north-south direction, coming from the radar tower at Mellery, over the villages of Cortil or Saint-Géry, and heading for Corroy. The size of these panels doesn't change and they are not "dancing". Beneath the series of panels, and close to the centre, is a rotating red lamp that in no way corresponded with the red flashing lights that can be seen on normal aircraft and which twinkle like stars. The altitude of this series of panels is believed to have been approximately 200 to 300 m.

At the farmhouse of Sart-Ernage, the road I'm on turns left in the direction of Gembloux. The illuminated panels of the object follow this general direction. At a speed of 50 to 60 km/h, the UFO stays behind. To continue my observation, I stop at the culminating point of the country-road, situated immediately after the farmhouse of Sart-Ernage. My wife opens the car window. The UFO is on my right. It passes me and continues its way in the above mentioned direction. This part of the sighting lasted about 2 to 4 minutes.

Next, the UFO abruptly changes course and heads in my direction. Only an enormous spot of white light is visible now, much bigger than the spotlight of a big air carrier. At this time, a feeling of anxiousness comes over me. My wife becomes frightened and asks me to restart the car because of the new direction the object is going and the fact that it looks a bit aggressive with that enormous and unnatural luminous mass in front. Moreover, we do not hear any sound of a motor... This craft was silent!

As I start the car again, the big light disappears and three white spotlights, less important than the preceding one, become visible. These three spotlights form a more or less equilateral triangle. In the centre of gravity of this triangle is the rotating red light again, now seen practically in profile. The object then actually performs a turn of 180 degrees to the left. The distance between the white luminous points is estimated at approximately 10 m. What appears paradoxical to me at this moment, is that, despite the fact that the light of the moon hits the landscape directly, it is impossible for us to distinguish the supporting mass around this triangle that is formed by the three points of light. The manoeuvre carried out by the craft is majestic, slow. The turn it makes is sharp. It is not necessary to move the head or the eyes to see the object take this turn, as one would if one were to follow the movements of a Boeing or a similar airplane. That's how short the turn was.

Next, the luminous points disappear. Only the red rotating light seen in frontal section is still visible. Very quickly, this light is lost in the deepness of the sky, in a south-southwesterly direction. The duration of the sighting is estimated at about 5 to 8 minutes.

Four characteristics struck me: the slowness of the UFO's movements as compared to the speed at which it travelled at the end of the sighting; the fact that the supporting mass that should have surrounded the lights did not reflect any light of the moon and was invisible; the absence of any motor sound: it was too silent; the anxiety and the fear that we felt, especially my wife, because of this silence and because of that enormous light situated at the front of the craft as it was moving toward us.

Of course I remain at your disposal for any additional information or any inquiry at the site.


André AMOND, LtCol BEM.
map of the sighting location

Map of the sighting location. The black arrow indicates the path followed by the unidentified object. The light yellow boxes represent the different phases (illustration based on a map published by SOBEPS; sketches in boxes based on sketches made by Col. AMOND).

In an interview with SOBEPS member J. LAURENT, Lt. Col. AMOND emphasized that:

"The sighting lasted several minutes, during which I didn't hear any sound, not even when I pricked up my ears. The moon was on the opposite side and should have illuminated it; I saw no reflection and didn't get the feeling that there was a mass behind the lights. As the object passed in front of the wood, it changed its course - I'm not exactly sure how that happened - and a very bright spotlight (two times the diameter of the moon) was pointed in our direction. At a given moment, the light was lower than the top of the trees in the background, and its intensity increased".


"The morning after, I filmed the moon with my camcorder to check its night functions and went to the same place for several nights to follow. In vain. After some hesitation (fear of ridicule), I addressed a note to the Cabinet of the Minister of National Defense, relating the facts. To me it's clear that this was not an AWACS, not a ULM, not a helicopter, not a hologram".

The article in Inforespace further specifies that "the altitude was some forty metres" (130 feet). Apparently, this estimate concerns the altitude at the moment the object made the 180 degree turn in the direction of the witnesses (in his letter of December 19, the witness mentions an altitude of "200 to 300 metres", i.e. 656 to 984 feet, but we assume that this was the object's altitude at the beginning of the sighting). No estimates of distances are given, but a topographical map of the area tells us that the trees that formed the background for the object's closest approach, are situated at 1,500 m (0.9 mile) from where the car was stopped. With an estimated distance of 10 metres between each light, A.A. assumes that the object's overall size must have been "between 25 and 45 m" (between 82 and 148 feet). The speed of the object is believed to have been approximately 30 km/h (18.6 miles/h).

sighting location

The sighting location photographed in 2007 from the spot on the road where the car was stopped. The photo was taken facing south, i.e. in the direction in which the object disappeared. The trees in front of which the object executed the 360 degree turn are visible on the right. [© Wim VAN UTRECHT/CAELESTIA]

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- BOUGARD, Michel & EYCKMANS, Annie, "Le 11 décembre 1989 : une soirée de reconnaissance systématique ?" in Inforespace Vol. 20, No. 80, April 1991, pp. 23-26.

- BOUGARD, Michel & CLEREBAUT, Lucien, "Chronique d'une vague" in Vague d'OVNI sur la Belgique, SOBEPS, 1991, pp. 90-92.

- VALCKENAERS, Marc, "Etude des particularités remarquables" in Vague d'OVNI sur la Belgique - 2, SOBEPS, 1994, p. 197.

- (French-language transcript of a televised interview with Lt. Col. AMOND)