There is a long history of power blackouts linked to UFO sightings, particularly in Latin America, but there is rarely conclusive evidence or first-hand witnesses that can clearly link the two events. Although the investigation is still ongoing, a UFO incident on November 26th in the small city of Joaquin V. Gonzalez in northwestern Argentina, which was followed by a power blackout that affected an area of 200 square Km., appears to be the exception. Here we have a sighting that was seen by several hundred witnesses. A few minutes later, a power blackout hit the whole area.
The case was reported in several Argentine newspapers and websites, but the most thorough investigation so far was published by Mercedes Casas of OVNISALTA (UFOs in Salta), with whom I’ve been in touch via email and telephone. Salta is a province in northern Argentina bordering Bolivia and Chile, where the town of Joaquin V. Gonzalez (population of 20,000) is located in the department (county) of Anta; it’s also the name of the capital of the province. The second key spot in the trajectory of the UFO is the electric power plant, dam and reservoir of El Tunal in the neighboring dept. of Metan, which is where the power outage took place. There is very important testimony of the apparent interaction between the UFO and the turbines just prior to the blackout, which is highly unusual in ufological literature. This Google satellite map shows the trajectory of the UFO, but let’s looks at the facts in a chronological order.
The incident began shortly after 1 am on Thursday, November 26th. A lot of people were outdoors eating ice cream, drinking soda and otherwise trying to weather out a very hot night on the town of J. V. Gonzalez. Suddenly, according to a report prepared by Antonio Galvagno, a pilot and local UFO expert, a huge, luminous cigar-shaped object appeared in the sky and remained visible for approximately 55 minutes. The UFO was pulsating with red and white flashes and no sound was heard. It then moved in a southwesterly direction toward the electric power plant and dam of El Tunal in the neighboring department of Metan, which is about 35 Km away from the town. At this point, a total power blackout hit the town of J. V. Gonzalez and an area of about 200 square Km. The power outage lasted for about 12 hours and the telephone lines were also dead.
The local power company EDESA (Empresa de Electricidad de Salta) had no immediate explanation for the blackout. On the following day they found a burned out turbine (according to Galvagno it was practically melted) but there was no explanation as to how that happened either, since all the equipment was working fine prior to the incident. Mercedes Casas clarified that this is an agricultural area (mostly devoted to soy bean) with low energy consumption, so power outages are not common.
In another spot north of J. V. Gonzalez called Las Lajitas, Galvagno reported that a row of five power poles had their tops totally burned out and the cables cut. During her investigation of the case, Mercedes Casas ran into a crew from the power company who were replacing the burned out poles, who agreed to talk so long as their names were not used in her report. Mercedes said “one of the employees told us that they don’t have an explanation for what he saw, five poles in line burned exactly at the same height; lightning can burn one pole, perhaps two, but not five.”
Another interesting detail reported by Galvagno and corroborated by Casas, who has interviewed about 25 witnesses so far, is that during the sighting people felt numb and one teenager even said he felt paralyzed. Cell phones and digital cameras also malfunctioned and that’s why no photos or videos of the UFO have emerged so far. There is one image used in this report and elsewhere on the web that purportedly shows the cigar-shaped object over J. V. Gonzalez, but it’s not clear who took it. Mercedes Casas has been unable to verify it. “I was told that there are three people who have footage, one is a supervisor of the dam, but I haven’t yet been able to find them,” she said in our interview.
Probably the most interesting report obtained by Mercedes came from a bookseller from Tucuman who was fishing with friends on the man-made lake next to the power station when the incident occurred. According to this witness, while they were fishing they suddenly noticed a whitish or yellow light all around them; as they looked up they noticed a huge object hovering over the turbines and emitting a rumbling “mmmmmm” sound. He estimated the UFO had a length of between 200 and 300 meters. He then described how the object threw beams over the turbines and beams could also be seen coming from the turbines to the UFO. The whole operation was accompanied by a sound like that of “several machines working in tandem,” according to the witness. This process lasted a few minutes and then the UFO made a big flash and left the area at great speed. That’s when the power blackout occurred, which seemed to also affect their flashlights and cell phones. When they drove to El Tunal a few minutes later they noticed the whole town was in shock.
Mercedes mentioned a similar testimony that she obtained while investigating a crop circle case in Chicoana in 2008, which is about 200 Km away from J. V. Gonzalez. “I interviewed some field workers in a tobacco farm and they mentioned that there was an object in October of last year  that was doing the same thing: it emitted beams towards the earth and from the earth there were flames going upwards; there are small dams used by farmers in this area.”
I asked Mercedes if there had been any official reaction to the incident from the police or local authorities. She talked to the local police (Gendarmería) and while some of them had seen the phenomenon, they stated they “had not received any official request to investigate the case nor had they seen any foreigners [in the area] as it often happens when there are physical traces or a crash.” Likewise, the power company EDESA didn’t provide any satisfactory explanation for the blackout and they “didn’t confirm or deny the UFO sighting.”
As a tentative conclusion for the importance of this case, Mercedes said that it fulfilled the first two of three parameters for a valid sighting given by the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer who consulted for the US Air Force’s Project Blue Book, and later founded the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) :
1. An object seen by a large number of people not linked with each other.
2. It is observed in different places located at a considerable distance.
3. Seen in daytime.
The cigar-shaped object returned to Joaquin V. Gonzalez on December 15, reported the local newspaper Diario Popular, but this time in broad daylight. The newspaper quoted Silvia Perez Simondini, director of the UFO group Visión Ovni and founder of the UFO Museum in Victoria, capital of the province of Entre Ríos. “The phenomenon was recorded on Tuesday the 15th [December] at 17:00 hours and was seen by a considerable segment of the population,” said Silvia Perez, adding that “witnesses interviewed by researcher Tony Galvagno stated that what they saw [on this occasion] was identical to the one seen days earlier, but this time without lights.”
Mercedes Casas added a few more details about this last event: “The sighting lasted a shorter time, approximately 5 minutes. I interviewed a kid who described it as an elongated and silvery thing that shined a lot. Mr. Galvagno told me that once again cell phones and [electric] power were cut.” Galvagno is working on a theory linking the UFO sightings around J. V. Gonzalez with climate change and has recruited the assistance of a meteorologist in Buenos Aires. Those who can read Spanish should check the OVNISALTA website here www.ovnisalta.com.ar for Mercedes Casas’ updates on her investigation, otherwise continue to check here at OpenMinds.tv. Undoubtedly, something very strange is going on in the skies over Argentina.