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
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
With Thanks to New Zealand
researcher, Peter Hassall to contributing the article.
URN NONE Fortean Times #42, pp. 57-58,I Spy with my Little Eye, Something
beginning with 'S' by John Prytz
URN NONE Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th
Century, by Janet & Colin Bord,
1989, p. 168
Coomlieyna Beach Unable to
locate in Gazetteer or online CF-
32-07 S, Longitude 133-40 E (D-M)
Gazetteer, Prepared in the Office of Geography, Department of the Interior,
Washington, D.C., June 1957