A fleet of motor fishing vessels from Mazara del Vallo (Trapani, Sicily, Italy), composed by a ten of floating, got ready to spend the nocturnal hours resting after a profitable fishing expedition. They were in a gulf in international waters approximately 20/25 miles from the African coast, at exactly Lat. 33.22.oo north and Long. 12.10.00 east. It was the evening of 9 December 1997, between the 20,20 and the 22,30 hours. The sky was serene, the stars were visible and the sea was calm. A quiet fell over the crews. Below deck many rested, whilst others did crosswords or smoked on deck. On average each fishing vessel was manned by a crew of ten. On board the Schedir the engineer Gaspare Calamusa, a young man approximately 30 years old, was busy chatting with Vito Giacalone, the 53 years old skipper of the Orchidea by radio. The radio was located in the wheel house, from where Gaspare had a good view of the horizon.

All of a sudden he jumped dumbfounded, the north-western part of the horizon seemed to burst into flame as though it were sunset, the product of ten suns.

Immediately he pressed the skipper of the Orchidea to go out on deck, then interrupting the communication he called his own skipper, Antonio Giacalone, who was on the lower deck (no relation to the skipper of the Orchidea, only school-friends), and he rushed up to the bridge. From this new position, Gaspare observed this strange sunset. Then, unexpectedly it vanished from the horizon to be replaced by a strong fixed light, heading straight for the fleet.

At that very moment the skipper of the Schedir, Antonio Giacalone, joined Gaspare on the bridge and they both observed this strange unidentified flying object of huge dimensions. At the same time Vito Giacalone on the Orchidea reached the bridge, where dumbfounded he, too, watched this object as it flew over the fleet at a quota of around 400/500 meters. All in all about thirty persons, both skippers and members of the various crews, witnessed this strange event.

Naturally, the men were better able to sight the inferior part of the object that was of a rectangular shape and completely covered by fixed multicolored lights, "red, green, blue, yellow... it looks like a discotheque" commented Vito Giacalone. It was approximately estimated to be 400 metres long and 80 metres wide, "At night it is difficult to establish the dimensions and the height of an unknown object. What can I say... it was like a village walking through the air", explained Vito Giacalone in order to emphasise its enormous proportions, whilst adding that the skipper of the motor fishing vessel Marinella, Vincenzo Giacalone, had also assisted the phenomenon. (the surname Giacalone is so common at Mazara del Vallo).

The object was completely silent; the sea continued to remain calm; not the slightest breeze could be perceived; the lights of the motor fishing vessels remained lit and they underwent no form of interference. In the meantime Gaspare fetched his binoculars and aimed them at the object, but in the darkness unfortunately he was unable to pick out much detail, whilst the object continued on its course straight ahead and disappeared to the south-east. The sighting, from horizon to horizon, lasted approximately one minute and a half to two minutes. Furthermore, it appeared that neither the radar at Trapani/Birgi Airport, nor that at the island of Pantelleria had registered, in that lapse of time and area, the passage of this incredible aircraft.

Strange creatures in dreams

These are the facts as they occurred. But there is some controversy on the time of the sighting. Gaspare, Antonino and Vito, unanimously agreed on the facts and the dynamics of the sighting, but they reported the events to have occurred at different times. Gaspare said at 20.30, that might well have been 2100 hours, whilst Vito shook his head stating it was 22.30 hours, and finally they mutually agreed at 2200 hours. For them the exact time was not important, at sea an hour more or less was not important. But for us a "missing" hour or more, could make a lot of difference... On account of this it was asked if any side effects had resulted as a consequence of the sighting.

Only Gaspare answered affirmatively, describing a dream he had had that same night. "I dreamed of some creatures, approximately 60/70 cm. tall.. They were strange, they had only one big eye, of a light colour, without eyelashes. They had a green skin and no hair. They asked me a great number of questions by telepathy but I answered verbally, however they did not hurt me. They asked many questions such as what I did, why and what I was doing there. All strange questions, basically they wanted to know about me, but they did not hurt me. I explained that we were there only to fish, but I was not afraid of them.

There were many of them, more than ten. They made me walk, but they did not hurt me".

It could have been only a dream but on the other hand it could have been something very different, who can say?

The skipper of the Orchidea, Vito Giacalone, also mentioned that about ten days before a friend of his, Enzo Bucchioni, the skipper of the motor tug Augustea, based at Syracuse, had told him about having seen a light suspended in the air at about 21.00 hours. At the time his friend was in high seas with the tug on behalf of an oil company for which he was doing some drilling in the Mediterranean. After having remained suspended in the air for about an hour, the light disappeared from sight by horizontal flight. Bucchioni's sighting took place about forty miles northeast of the point where Vito, Antonino and Gaspare saw the rectangular object.

These facts as they have been carried out. But there is some perplexity on the timetable of the sight. Gaspare, Antonino and Vito, uniform agree on the facts and on dynamics of the sight, they remember the events to various timetables. Gaspare says the 20,30, that then they could have been also the 21,00, and Vito shakes remains it asserting that they were the 22,30, coming to an agreement itself then for the 22,00. For them the timetable is not important, in sea hour more hour less what imports. But for us a "hole" of an hour or more, could be important... Therefore it has been asked if, for case, as a result of the sight had been some collateral effect. (D.G.)