Last Updated 10/12/03 00:25

The Socorro Incident 


The hills around Socorro, New Mexico - the location for one of the most famous UFO trace cases on record.


At approximately 5-45p.m. on 24th April 1964, Lonnie Zamora, a police patrol officer, was on duty in the "Socorro Two" police cruiser when he gave chase to a speeding black Chevrolet. The pursuit continued to the south of Socorro when, suddenly, Zamora heard a brief roar and saw a "flame" in the sky on the right hand side of his vehicle.
Zamora discontinued the chase as he became concerned that the flame, blue and orange in colour but without smoke, was descending in the location of a shack containing dynamite - in fact, he thought there was a possibility that the shack had blown up.      Patrolman Lonnie Zamora [ left ] experienced a close encounter which proved to be one of the best authenticated cases on record.

Zamora drove off the highway and after three attempts he managed to negotiate a dirt road that led over a ridge and past the vicinity of the dynamite shack. As he slowly drove down the other side of the ridge he realised that the noise had abated and the flame had disappeared. Suddenly Zamora noticed "a shiny type object" to the south, between 100yd. and 200yd. from the road. Then he saw two humanoid figures in white "coveralls" close to the object - one of the beings looked straight at Zamora, who, because he was wearing clip-on sunglasses over his prescription lenses, could not distinguish any features or headgear at that distance. Somewhat perplexed he radioed Sgt. Sam Chavez in Socorro.
The object was described by Zamora as oval in shape with no windows or doors and standing on girder-like legs; he approached to within 100 ft. of the objected and noted red insignia on its side - about 2.5ft. in width.
Then the roar struck up again, initially at low frequency but very quickly it rose in frequency and became "very loud". As the noise increased the object also emitted flame and greatly disturbed nearby dust - the "beings" he had observed previously were now nowhere to be seen.
Fearful that the "craft" might explode, Zamora ran back behind his car to the top of the ridge where he noticed that the roaring had stopped and he turned to see the "UFO going away from me in a south-west direction… approximately 15ft. above the ground. It cleared the dynamite shack by about 3ft." By this time the UFO was travelling very quickly and, no longer emitting either noise or flame, it "just cleared" a mountain in the distance before disappearing.
Whilst Zamora waited for Sergeant Chavez to arrive he decided to make a sketch of the UFO and the Sergeant, himself, was very soon on the scene of the incident - however, had he not taken a wrong turning he would have arrived in time to actually see the craft.
Chavez asked: "What have you seen Lonnie?
You look like you have seen the devil!" "Maybe I have", replied Zamora.

Zamora, Sgt. Chavez, Deputy Sheriff James Lucky and F.B.I. Agent Arthur Byrnes Jr. (who happened to be in the area investigating another case) investigated the spot where the UFO had landed, in places the brush was still burning. They discovered four burn marks and four V-shaped depressions, approximately 2 inches deep and 18 inches long in an asymmetrical diamond pattern around the burns. These depressions corresponded to the "legs" Zamora had seen on the UFO. An engineer's analysis (prepared by W.T. Powers) later stated that each would have been bearing a load of at least one ton to press so deeply into the dense desert earth. Also, five smaller marks were found nearby - these were thought to quite possibly be "footprints".

Left to right) Lonnie Zamora accompanied by FBI Agent Byrnes, Major H. Mitchell (AFMDC), Coral Lorenza and Sergeant Castle (military police) - investigating the site of the UFO landing.

Later that day, when interviewed by Arthur Byrnes, the F.B.I. Agent, Zamora made the following remarks in his statement: "It looked like a car turned upside down… standing on its radiator or trunk. Next to the object were two people in white coveralls…. One of these persons seemed to turn and look straight at my car and seemed startled, seemed to jump quickly somewhat. They seemed normal in shape but possibly they were small adults or large kids".
On 28th April, Dr. J. Allen Hynek arrived in Socorro in order to investigate the incident on behalf of Project Blue Book (USAF agency investigating UFOs - covered in detail by this site) and, at his instigation, the USAF checked to see of any aerospace company had been privately developing a craft as described by Zamora - with no success.
However, reports made by a car driver, who told the manager of a gas station on Highway 85 (now Interstate 25) that he had observed some type of aircraft in trouble and landing with a just south of Socorro - with a police car approaching it, were not followed up.

Project Blue Book usually ruled out UFO sightings with only one witness but because of Zamora's plausibility and the intensive investigation, the Socorro incident was officially described as being "unexplained as any known device or phenomenon".
Dr. Hynek admitted that he was more puzzled after completing the investigation than when he arrived in Socorro, commenting: "Maybe there is a simple, natural explanation for the Socorro incident, but having made a complete study of the events - I do not think so".
At 3-00a.m. on the 26th April 1964, Orlando Gallego saw a UFO, identical to the one reported by Zamora, land at La Madera . New Mexico. Gallego and his family denied all knowledge of the Socorro event and investigating officers found evidence of burning around the alleged landing site - and four inexplicable depressions in the ground!

soc2 (1).jpg (23254 bytes)One of the four impressions left by the UFO which landed at Socorro - an engineer stated that a pressure of 1 ton would have been needed to make the depression in the hard desert ground. Click on picture for  larger size


Footpad impression in the soil - believed to have been left by the craft's landing gear.

Click on picture for  larger size

socorro4 (1).jpg (12897 bytes) Artistic depiction of the Socorro incident based on Zamora's description and sketch. Click on picture for  larger size

page109 (2).jpg (40982 bytes)

A previously classified CIA document reveals the opinions of Hector Quintanilla, former head of Project Blue Book. Click on picture for  larger size





Copyright © 2001 by [The Why? Files]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Dec 2003 00:31:35 -0000 .


Back To Home Page