The Strange Death of Capt. Thomas Mantell
Captain Thomas Mantell was an Air Force pilot born in Simpson County, Kentucky, June 30, 1922. On a routine flight from Georgia to an air base in Kentucky, he was asked to change course and check out reports of a strange object in the skies, sighted by people across Kentucky. What he encountered was described by Mantell in a radio message to base as, "a metallic object or possible reflections of sun from a metallic object, and it is of tremendous size." Several people from Maysville, Kentucky, reported seeing the "strange craft." Twenty minutes later, people from Irvington and Owensboro reported a "circular craft about 250 to 300 feet in diameter" and "moving westward at a pretty good clip." It's about 190 miles from Maysville to Owensboro: 190 miles in twenty minutes is 570 miles per hour.
Captain Mantell pursued the object and later lost radio contact. After a period of both visual and audio silence, a search was conducted for the missing pilot. Tragically, Mantell was found crashed in... oddly enough, Simpson County, the place he was born. Although lack of oxygen or a possible collision with a weather balloon were offered as possibilities for the crash, no sensible explanation was ever given.
Captain Mantell was an experienced wartime pilot, with over three thousand hours in the air.