The incident happened in 1970 at the Richmond school in Napier, New Zealand. Witnesses included the principal, teachers, and some 400 students. Definitely one of the so-called “mass sightings.”
The case was mentioned in the Napier Daily Telegraph on May 8, just one day after the shocking event. The headline, as you can see below, was: Mysterious object in the sky is seen by teachers and 400 children.
To facilitate reading, we have transcribed and translated the text of the newspaper. The introduction reads:
“A huge unidentified flying object appeared yesterday afternoon as a ‘hole in the sky”. As it floated near Napier, it was seen for 20 minutes by the principal, teachers, and more than 400 children at Richmond School, Maraenui.”
Then follows the main content:
“Witnesses of the sighting said there was an ‘eerie silence’ as the normally noisy children stopped playing and stared in awe and fascination at the saucer-shaped object. The principal, Mr. W. Billing, said that he was watching children play on the school grounds when he noticed the object moving from the south. “At first I thought it was a plane,” he recounted. “Then I noticed that it had stopped moving and appeared as an extremely bright object in the clear sky.”
From there, a subtitle line keeps us hooked saying, “SHINING OBJECT,” then the article continues:
“When it caught the attention of the teachers, the children also saw the object and stopped their game. “It was like a huge plane with no wings with the sun shining on it. But what amazed us was that it was also shining from the opposite side of the sun,” he described. The object appeared to be hovering in an area between Westshore and Tongoio. “We were watching it when a plane appeared and landed. There was definitely no comparison between the object and the plane,” Billing said.
The next caption says, “LIKE A ROUND BALL” and keeps the article going by describing what the UFO was doing in the air:
“After hovering for three or four minutes, the object started to move away. Then it moved in annular angles, and the next thing we saw was how it transformed into a round ball with a bright and transparent center. Soon it flattened out again and continued to recede into a straight moon to become a bright star. Suddenly, it seemed to flare up again, like an extremely bright planet, and then faded again before speeding away, Billing said. The object was last seen around 2:23 p.m.
Another caption reads, “LOOKED SOLID,” and the article continues:
“It was not a weather balloon, which you would not see changing from round to oval,” Billing said. “It was also definitely a solid object, and it seemed to have a metallic feel.”
“One of the teachers, Mr. A. Coveny said that he had read reports of people seeing unidentified objects, but he had always been “quite skeptical”…until yesterday. “We thought half of Napier would have seen it,” he said. “Here at school, everyone was standing with their mouths open trying to come up with a logical answer.”
“A student had come to him for an answer. “He asked me if it was a flying saucer and I said yes because I couldn’t give him any other answer,” Coveny said.
The final subtitle of the article is “HOLE IN THE SKY”, and under it reads:
“The sighting had stopped the usual sounds of noisy games. “The whole area seemed so unnaturally quiet that it was strange,” he said. It wasn’t just the movements of the “flying saucer” that were supernatural, but also its appearance when it changed form. “There was an iridescence to it, and it seemed as if it was a real hole in the sky as if you were looking through it into another dimension,” the teacher said.
On the next page of the newspaper, there are even some images that have arrived somewhat poorly at the time of digitization. However, the accompanying description is legible.
“THE PRINCIPAL of Richmond School, Mr. W. Billing (at right), points today in the direction in which he saw an object in the sky yesterday. With him is one of the teachers who saw the object, Mr. A. Coveny. Above: Two sketches, showing the two different shapes that the object conveyed to observers, which were drawn by Mr. Billing.”
Aside from two newspaper articles with similar—but less detailed—accounts of the sighting, this is all we have on what happened that afternoon. As well as two drawings carefully placed on one page by the teachers of the school themselves or by interested parties thereafter.
In closing, let’s remember that this incident is not the only one that has multiple students as witnesses. For example, it is enough to mention one that happened in Zimbabwe in 1994, in the famous Ariel School UFO incident. On that occasion, the children not only saw the flying object but it landed and one of its crew members was seen.
- A Paranormal File – John Pinkney (2011).
- 400 School Students Witness Huge UFO, 1970, Napier, NZ… But Who Has The Case File? – Paul Dean (2015).
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