Peruvian air force Colonel Oscar Santa Maria Huerta with his Russian Sukhoi-22 jet.
AS WILL Smith would say: “Welcome to Erf.”
Thirty-five years ago, fighter pilot Oscar Santa Maria Huerta had a real-lifeIndependence Day moment when he attempted to shoot down a mysterious light-bulb shaped craft, in what to this day remains the only documented case of a military aircraft firing on a UFO.
It was early on the morning of April 11, 1980, and the 23-year-old Peruvian air force lieutenant was preparing for daily exercises along with around 1800 military personnel and civilians at the La Joya Air Force Base, 1000km south of the Peruvian capital.
Lt Huerta, a pilot with eight years’ experience who had been flying combat missions since 19, was ordered to take off in his Russian-made Sukhoi-22 fighter to intercept the strange silvery object that had been spotted floating near the end of the runway.
The object was five kilometres away, hanging in the air about 600 metres off the ground, and was not replying to any communications.
“This ‘balloon’ was in restricted air space without authorisation, representing a grave challenge to national sovereignty,” the now-retired Colonel writes in UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.