The Madisonville incident, Mantell incident or the Mantell encounter, concerns the death of 25-year-old Captain Thomas F. Mantell, a Kentucky Air National Guard pilot, died in the crash of his F-51 Mustang fighter, after being sent in pursuit of an unidentified flying object (UFO) on January 7, 1948. The event was among the most publicized early UFO incidents.


"...appeared to be metallic."
—Thomas Mantell, seconds before he chases the UFO(Usborne World of the Unknown: UFOs)After a huge flying saucer-type craft was seen over Madisonville, Kentucky, three P-51 Mustang planes were sent to investigate the UFO. After a few minutes, Mantell, a pilot of one of the aircraft, said that the UFO was made of metal. He decided to give it a chase, even after the other two pilots had given up and he lost radio contact.[1]

Later, after the UFO incident settled, Thomas's plane was found obliberated a whole 135 kilometers away from the initial area. This completely puzzled many people, and the press declared Mantell the first-ever UFO victim. The incident caused much panic in the public. [1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Usborne World of the Unknown: UFOs


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