Go Back Report # 502


While working on an unrelated project, I recently came across a news item from late 1976 which, to some, has a quasi-relevance to ufology. The story involved the sightings of a USO -- unidentified submarine object. While such sightings have been frequently reported overseas, in particular in Scandinavian regions, [see latest reports on p7 - Ed.] they are rare in Australian regions -- which may be a function of our long coastline and low population density. Anyway, although I am fairly sure that this particular USO was in fact a terrestrial submarine, there is room for doubt and debate. It makes for interesting reading.

       On Tuesday, 28 December 1976, a party of about 20 Aboriginals saw a "submarine" surface about 200 metres off Coomlieyna Beach, near Ceduna, in the far west of South Australia. The Aboriginals, from the Yalata Lutheran Mission, had gone to the beach for an afternoon's fishing, when, about 3 p.m., "this thing popped out of the water", according to the Mission manager, B.R. Lindner, and "scared the living daylights out of them". The party "ran from the beach to the sandhills". Press reports then differ as to whether the object stayed on the surface and sailed out to sea, or immediately submerged, then reappeared far out to sea before submerging again. The length of the sighting was not stated, but apparently all but one witness agreed the object was about 90 feet long. So far there is nothing overly mysterious about the report. However...

       All the witnesses agreed that whatever the object was, it had a white conning tower, with a ladder going from the tower to the deck, a black centre line and a red stripe/bottom at the water-line. Alas, the reported markings and description did not match the colours of any submarine in any of the world's navies. According to a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) spokesman, the sighting was being treated seriously, even though there were some official doubts that the object was a submarine. "Submarines tend to be black or a dark blue in colour so they can hide in deep water and not be seen from the air" according to the RAN official. "A white conning tower would stick out a mile."

       Further, there were no known submarines, or underwater exploratory craft -- from the RAN or from other nations -- operating in waters off the S.A. west coast. Thus, commercial aircraft, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), shipping, and even local police patrols were alerted to be on the lookout for the mystery vessel in the Great Australian Bight. However, over a day had elapsed between the original sighting and official notification to the Defence Department in Canberra, so it perhaps should not be surprising to learn that nothing was ever seen of the strange submarine again.

       Although the Defence Department did not speculate on the nature of the object sighted by the Yalata Aborigines, others weren't as reserved. The "obvious" solution was that it was Russian or from some other foreign, and one would presume unfriendly, nation, and on a spying mission. However, for the submarine to have been in that close to shore, near reefs, and caught-in-the-act as it was broad daylight, suggested to the RAN spokesman that "the sub was in trouble, or it's got a lousy captain". If the submarine had been from the RAN, the captain would have faced a court martial according to the Navy's spokesman, operating that close to reefs. Further, the remote west of S.A. doesn't smack as being a likely espionage-targeted region. Thus …

       A spokesman for the Marine Operations Centre, in Canberra, suggested a theory that the object was an overturned vessel, possibly a large yacht. However, there were no reports of any vessels missing or overdue in the Bight area.                                                                             

This reference: Fortean Times #42, pp. 57-58,”I Spy with my Little Eye, Something beginning with 'S' “ by John Prytz

With Thanks to New Zealand researcher, Peter Hassall to contributing the article.   


UFOCAT URN – NONE  Fortean Times #42, pp. 57-58,”I Spy with my Little Eye, Something

                                        beginning with 'S' “ by John Prytz

UFOCAT URN – NONE  Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century, by Janet & Colin Bord,

                                        1989, p. 168           

Australia, South Australia

Coomlieyna Beach       Unable to locate in Gazetteer or online –CF-

Ceduna                        Latitude 32-07 S, Longitude 133-40 E (D-M)

Reference: Australia Gazetteer, Prepared in the Office of Geography, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., June 1957


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