The Frederick Valentich Incident is the most significant UFO sighting in Australia. This incident involves a young 20 year old pilot, Frederick Valentich, who filed a flight plan at Moorabin for a night flight to King Island where he was to pick up some friends and then fly back. King Island is in the Bass Strait between Australia and Tasmania (see map).
On October 21st 1978 at 1819hrs, Frederick Valentich took off in his single-engined Cessna 182 from Moorabin Airport, Melbourne, Australia. As he was flying along the Bass Strait at about 5000ft altitude he told Air Traffic Controllers in Melbourne that he could see a large aircraft below him and wanted to know if they were aware of any aircraft in the area. Melbourne ATC said there were no known aircraft in the area and asked if he could identify it. Frederick said he couldn't identify it but it had four bright lights. The UFO then passed over him and appeared to be playing some sort of game with him. He said that the object was a long shape, very fast with a green light and sort of metallic, and that it was not an aircraft. The object was orbiting him and then just vanished. The UFO then reappeared approaching from the south-west. Fredrick reported that his engine was rough-idling and coughing. Melbourne ATC asked what his intentions were and he replied ' My intentions are - ah - to go to King Island - ah - Melbourne. That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again (open microphone for two seconds). It is hovering and it's not an aircraft.'
The last transmission from Frederick Valentich was at 1912hrs and an alert was immediately declared. When at 1933hrs it was evident that the Cessna 182 (Delta Sierra Juliet) had not arrived at King Island a full scale Search and rescue operation was launched. After five days of searching no sign of the pilot or aircraft was found despite the fact that the Cessna was equipped with a radio survival beacon.
The weather at the time of this incident was clear with a trace of Stratocumulus cloud at 5000-7000ft, excellent visibility with light winds. The aircraft was fully refuelled with approximately 5hrs of flying time and was equipped with 4 life jackets. There had also been many UFO sightings from people before and after this incident. Whatever the truth may be, the fact remains that Frederick Valentich vanished in mysterious circumstances, possibly UFO related, and that the mystery lingers to this day.