One of the earliest encounters to gain widespread publication, the Mantell UFO incident occurred on January 7th, 1948, when pilot Captain Thomas F. Mantell was killed while chasing a UFO in Kentucky. Flying for the Kentucky Air National Guard, Mantell was an experienced pilot. A large object had been sighted by multiple witnesses that day, and Mantell was in a group giving chase. He continued to climb his aircraft in elevation, but likely blacked out after passing 25,000 feet in altitude. The incident is considered one of the “classic” UFO cases which escalated the UFO phenomenon in the public mind.
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