The UFO Files
Coyne Helicopter / UFO Incident
UFO still puzzles 30 years later- Coyne Helicopter / UFO Incident. Soldiers encountered something strange in 'Coyne Incident'
By Russ Kent, News Journal
The following article appeared in the Nov. 4, 1973, edition of the Mansfield News Journal. It was written by a United Press International reporter.
MANSFIELD -- Thirty years ago tonight, strange things were happening in the skies over north central Ohio. A close encounter in Mansfield, that has since become known as "The Coyne Incident," is still raising eyebrows among believers and UFO investigators. That evening, in a soybean field on the west side of Galion, Rene Boucher and her brother Brad encountered a bright light in the sky that has lured her from Florida for another sojourn into that field.
It was about 11 p.m. on Oct. 18, 1973, when an Army Reserve helicopter came perilously close to colliding with an unidentified flying object. Arrigo "Rick" Jezzi, 56, who now lives in Cincinnati, was flying the Huey helicopter that night. Three decades later, he is still not sure what happened. Jezzi was one of four members of an Army Reserve unit based at Hopkins Airport in Cleveland on board. The crew was en route to Cleveland from Columbus.
"Capt. Larry Coyne was the pilot," Jezzi said. "I was in the left seat, actually flying the Huey at the time. We were near Mansfield flying at 2,500 to 3,000 feet."
John Healey and Robert Yanacsek were in the back of the Huey, near a cargo door with a Plexiglas window.
"One of the guys in the back reported a red light. He said it looked like an aircraft light on the right horizon," Jezzi said. "I couldn't see it."
Jezzi was flying from the left seat. On the other side of the Huey there was a 12-foot section of fuselage between the side window and the cargo doors. He figures the red light was in his blind spot.
"Then I heard 'I think its coming toward us'," Jezzi said. "The next thing I knew Larry took control of the throttle. We went into a maneuver, a controlled free fall. We dropped about 2,000 feet."
Jezzi said if Coyne had not made the drastic maneuver there would have been a collision.
"It took just a couple of seconds," Jezzi said. "I remember looking up through the ceiling and I saw a white light moving over top of us. I followed it to the left horizon where it disappeared."
Jezzi isn't sure what he saw. It was like no aircraft he'd ever seen. He guessed it was traveling at least 500 knots, twice the speed of his Huey.
"Red navigational lights aren't located in the front of an aircraft," he said. "That's what was moving toward us. I don't know what it was."
The incident was documented by witnesses on the ground. In UFO lore the "Coyne Incident" is regarded as one of the most reliable UFO sightings of all time.
"It caused a lot of hullabaloo," Jezzi said. "The first thing I thought was those Commie bastards. What are they up to."
The next morning two of the other crew members, while being questioned about the incident, sketched drawings of the cigar-shaped craft they observed.
"They both came up with similar drawings," Jezzi said.
The magnetic compass in the Huey never worked right after the incident and had to be replaced. Rene Bouchard doesn't know what she saw in Galion about 60 minutes earlier that same evening.
"I was in high school. My brother was in junior high," she said. "There had been a lot of sightings in the days and weeks before that. Even the governor reported seeing something. We thought we'd give it a try."
She and her brother walked out in the field behind their home and started watching the sky.
"We saw a bunch of stuff that looked like it was maybe 30,000 feet in the air," she said. "But it wasn't anything spectacular. Then I think we both put our heads down for some reason. That's when we saw this brilliant white light. It was as bright as the sun. I don't know what it was but it scared us. We ran for two blocks until we got home."
Rene has since moved to Florida. Her brother is in California. She's back in Galion today and plans to go out in that same bean field to spend part of her evening.
"We really saw something that night," she said. "I don't know what it was. But I'll be back there (tonight). I called my brother and asked him to fly here so he could go with me. He said no. I'm not expecting to see anything. But I'm going to be there."
SOURCE: UFO Casebook
|Document #: 31
From: UFO INFO SERVICE
Date Sent: 07-26-1986
Subject: 1973 HELICOPTER ENCOUNTER
Freedom Of Information Act Document
1. On 18 October 1973 at 2305 hours in the vicinity of Mansfield, Ohio, Army Helicopter 68-15444 assigned to Cleveland USARFFAC encountered a near midair collision with a unidentified flying object. Four crewmembers assigned to the Cleveland USARFFAC for flying proficiency were on AFTP status when this incident occurred. The flight crew assigned was CPT Lawrence J. Coyne, Pilot in Command,1LT Arrigo Jozzi, Copilot, SSG Robert Yanacsek, Crew Chief, SSG John Healey,Flight Medio,All the above personnel are member of the 316th MED DET(HEL AMB). a tenant reserve unit of the Cleveland USARFFAC.
2. The reported incident happened as follows: Army Helicopter 68-15444 was returning from Columbus, Ohio to Cleveland, Ohio and at 2305 hours east, south east of Mansfield Airport in the vicinity of Mansfield, Ohio while flying at an altitude of 2500 feet and on a heading of 030 degrees, SSG Yanacsek observed a red light on the east horizon,90 drgrees to the flight path of the helicopter. Approximately 30 seconds later, SSG Yanacsek indicated the object was converging on the helicopter at the same altitude at a airspeed in excess of 600 knots and on a midair collision heading.
Cpt Coyne observed the converging
object, took over
the controls of the aircraft and initiated a power
descent from 2500 feet
to 1700 feet to avoid impact with the object. A
radio call was initiated
to Mansfield Tower who acknowledged the helicopter
and was asked by CPT
Coyne if there were any high performance aircraft
flying in the vicinity
of Mansfield Airport however there was no response
received from the tower.
The crew expected impact from the object instead,
the object was observed
to hesistate momontarily over the helicopter and
then slowly continued
on a westerly course accelerating at a high rate of
speed, clear west of
Mansfield Airport then turn 45 degree heading to the
Northwest. Cpt Coyne
indicated the altimeter read a 1000 fpm olimp and
read 3500 feet with the
collective in the full down position. The aircraft
was returned to
2500 feet by CPT Coyne and flown back to Cleveland,
Ohio. The flight plan
was closed and the FAA Flight Service Station
notified of the
3. This report has been read and attested to by the crew members of the aircraft with signatures acknowledging this report.
UFO BEAMS GREEN LIGHT ONTO HELICOPTER:
SHORT SUMMARY OF THE EVENTS:
The four-man crew of an Army Reserve UH-1H helicopter, based in Cleveland, Ohio, was returning from Columbus, Ohio, at about 10:30 p.m. following regularly scheduled physical examinations. It was a clear, starry night with no moon. They were cruising at 90 knots at an altitude of 2,500 feet above sea level, over farmland and rolling hills. Lt. Arrigo Jezzi, 26, was at the controls from the left-hand seat. Sgt. John Healey, 35, the flight medic, sat behind him. In the right rear seat was Spec. 5 Robert Yanacek, 23, the crew chief. Commanding the flight from the right front seat was Capt. Lawrence J. Coyne, 36, a 19-year veteran of the Army Reserve.
About 11:00 p.m. near Mansfield, Ohio, Healey saw a red light off to the left (west) heading south. Three or four minutes later, Yanacek noticed a single steady red light on the eastern horizon, and reported it to Coyne. About 30 seconds later, Yanacek announced that the light appeared to be converging on the helicopter, and they all watched it warily.
As the light continued its approach, Coyne grabbed the controls from Jezzi and began a powered descent of approximately 500 feet per minute. He made radio contact with Mansfield approach control, requesting information on possible jet traffic. After Mansfield acknowledged their transmission, radio contact was lost on both UHF and VHF.
The red light appeared to be on a collision course, approaching at a speed estimated to be more than 600 knots. Coyne increased the rate of descent to 2,000 feet per minute until they reached about 1,700 feet, about 600 feet above the tree tops. With the unknown object about to ram them, the crewmen feared for their lives. Just as a collision appeared imminent, the light suddenly stopped and hovered above and in front of the helicopter. They saw a cigar-shaped, gray metallic appearing, domed object whose apparent size filled the entire windshield.
The object appeared solid, blotting out the stars behind it. It had a red light at the nose, a white light at the tail, and a distinctive green beam emanating from the lower part of the otherwise featureless "fuselage." The green beam swung up over the helicopter nose, through the windshield, and into the upper tinted window panels. The cockpit was bathed in intense green light. No noise or turbulence was noted.
After a few seconds, the object accelerated and moved off to the west. Coyne and Healey reported that it then made a distinct 45 degree turn to the right, heading toward Lake Erie. While the object was still visible, Jezzi and Coyne both noted that the altimeter read 3,500 feet with a rate of climb of 1,000 feet per minute. Yet the collective (steering mechanism) was still in the full-down position set during the descent.
As Coyne cautiously raised the collective, the helicopter continued climbing, as would be expected. At an indicated altitude of 3,800 feet Coyne finally felt that he had regained positive control. Then they felt a slight "bump." He descended to the previously assigned cruise altitude of 2,500 feet and made radio contact with Akron/Canton, which now was easily achieved. The remainder of the flight to Cleveland was routine.
At about 11:00 p.m., Mrs. Erma C. and four children were returning from Mansfield to their rural home southeast of town. As they drove south on Laver Road, they noticed a bright red light flying south. She turned the car eastward and continued on across the Charles Mill Reservoir, a distance of 3.6 miles, covered in about 5 minutes.
At this point they saw to the east a red and green light, moving together, coming down rapidly toward them. At first they assumed it was a low-flying light plane, but changed their minds almost immediately. The red was too bright, especially compared to the green. They could not see any shape or, at first, hear any sound. When they stopped the car and got out to look, they heard the typical sounds of a helicopter. As they watched, the red light and the helicopter converged.
After the red-lighted object stopped, the green light flared up. "When we got out, everything was green. I saw that thing and the helicopter." The witnesses agreed that the helicopter was green "because of the light from the thing up above... It was so bright that you couldn't see too far. Everything was green. The trees, the car, everything."
The helicopter with the other object above and slightly ahead of it moved in tandem from southwest to northeast. Suddenly the green light went out and the object was gone. "When the light went out you couldn't see the object. And then the helicopter went northeast. Then we got back in the car and went on, and saw it [the helicopter] fly out over the lake."
Jeanne Elias, 44, was watching the news at her home southeast of Mansfield just after 11:00 p.m. She recognized the sound of an Army helicopter approaching so loud and near that she feared it was going to crash into the house. The sound persisted for "a long time," and when it was over her son John, 14, called out from his room. He had been awakened by the sound, and then had observed a bright green light that lit up the bedroom. The light persisted long enough for him to realize that "there must be some kind of object right above the house, because it was coming in so heavy in my room."
Investigator Jennie Zeidman conducted a time-line analysis, second-by-second, showing that the object was continuously in view of the helicopter crew for at least five minutes. This duration and the witness descriptions both from the helicopter and the ground rules out the object being a meteor.
Mansfield News Journal on November 4, 1973
THE COYNE INCIDENT, MANSFIELD, OHIO, 1793 IN THE PRESS:
The article underneath was published in the local daily newspaper The Mansfield News Journal on November 4, 1973; it was written by a United Press International reporter. Incident named after pilot
Ohio, USA, on Saturday, October 18, 2003.
UFOs in the daily Press:
The article underneath has been published in the daily newspaper News Journal, Ohio, USA, on Saturday, October 18, 2003.
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