Zihuatanejo Area, Mexico | 1975

At 10:30 am on Saturday, May 3, Carlos Antonio de los Santos Montiel a young 23 years old pilot was flying his 58′ Piper PA-24 Comanche marked as XB-XAU from the city of Zihuatanejo.  That morning was cloudy with considerable smog, mist and very poor visibility. Carlos took off, nevertheless, at 10:30, without having his breakfast. He climbed his little plane to 13,500 feet but conditions were still bad so he climbed to 14,500 where he found a clear blue sky and continued on his return trip to Mexico City.  At about 12:30 pm, After establishing a set course, he wanted to visually find the Lagoon of Tequesquitengo, when he couldn’t find it, he re-checked his instruments and continued flying.  Shortly he became aware of something on his right and looked in that direction and was shocked to see an object with the appearance of two plates joined together at the rim with a dome which had what seemed to be some sort of windshield.

It was positioned 20 centimetres above the surface of the wing and about 1 1/2 meters from the Piper’s cabin. Four or five seconds later, he observed a second flying object settling itself about nine inches over the left wing. At that moment, he began to feel extremely nervous and stuttered a bit while talking to himself trying to calm down; he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.  Suddenly, he discovered a third object moving rapidly almost impossible to see, losing altitude and placing itself in front of the plane’s cockpit. For a moment, he thought that it was going to crash into him, but it plunged to the underside of his Piper at a 45 degree angle and hitting the lower part of his craft as he felt a loud bang coming from the bottom of the airplane.

Carlos then noted that his airspeed had decreased from 140 nautical miles per hour to 120. He tried to bank to the left, in an attempt to “bump” the object away from his plane but the controls were frozen and would not move. He then tried to let down the landing gear, hoping to get rid of the object under him, but with no results. The plane kept its original course, but it was gaining altitude, and Carlos feared that if it went any higher he would die because his cabin was not pressurized. Scared even more, which caused him to cry and he was badly shaking. He communicated with the Air Traffic Control Center and told them what was happening. Mexico Center did not answer him and the silence increased his fear. He thought that perhaps they didn’t believe him and most likely they didn’t even want to answer him.

Since he was certain that the third object was attached under the plane’s fuselage, he decided to lower the landing gear in the hopes of detaching the object from the plane if possible or to find out if the landing gear was damaged. In effect, the landing gear did not come down, there were no light indications on the dashboard and the emergency lever did not work either, which meant that the object prevented the landing gear from lowering. He tried communicating again with Mexico Center and he informed them that unknown forces were controlling his aircraft and had lost control over it. Again, no response was received. He thought that perhaps his radio did not work or those objects were preventing it from working. After some time Mexico Center responded:”Take note extra alfa union, give me your position and your situation. We are contacting competent authorities and…” (Carlos interrupted again) Carlos: “The aircraft is out of control”.

Mexico Center called also for any aircraft that was flying in the vicinities of Carlos’ position. They received a response form another small plane tagged as XC-SAG[Extra Coca-Sierra Alfa Golfo] at that time belonging to the Agriculture and Livestock Department. This air craft was flown by a pilot with the nickname of “El Charro”.  He was asked if he had visual contact with Carlos’ plane in order to confirm and validate Carlos’ story.  After a long silence “El Charro” confirmed that indeed there were three objects attached to Extra Alfa Union[XAU], then Mexico Center ask if he can aid Carlos’ airplane.

Shortly after that and after Carlos’ airplane being escorted for 18 minutes for this unknown craft, while arriving at the Ajusco mountain range and nearly flying over the town of Tlalpan, These objects suddenly left Carlos heading towards the location of the Popocatépetl volcano at a speed greater than 900 km/hour. Carlos did not see them again and regained control of his aircraft, but he was still very frightened. As the objects departed, two radars at Benito Juarez International Airport captured the three departing UFOs around his craft making 270-degree turns in a very tight radius of action of just 3-4 miles.

After gaining control of his Piper, Carlos made the operators know that his landing gear remained retracted, due to the impact with the third object. At this point, Mexico City International Airport closed its runways to traffic and prepared for the expected emergency landing. He was forced to circle over the airport 11 times. He then opened a tool box he kept inside an used a large screwdriver as a makeshift lever to force the gear down. He finally after 40 minutes successfully landed the plane in a grass filed between two landing strip. He immediately was taken inside the airport clinic for a checkup and was given some sedatives to calm his nerves. After long tests and deliberation the physician confirmed his good health and gave him permission to continue flying. No ilegal substance was found on Carlos body that indicated an altered perception or hallucination of the events.

Carlos de los Santos, like his brother and two cousins, was a student of astronomy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. With this background, one could hardly confuse a balloon or the planet Venus with anything else. He described the objects as follows: “They were oval disc-shaped with a dome, about three to four meters in length without antennas, had a dull grey fuselage like the colour of a rat’s fur and a sort of windshield that seems polarized because he was unable to see inside the craft. The outer shell was all without rivets and completely smooth, the material were not as reflective as a regular polished metal considering that there was a strong illumination coming from the sun at the time”.  Several UFO investigators from Mexico and the U.S., who had the task of investigating Carlos de los Santos’ incident, have concluded that he was “a perfectly normal young man who was obviously frightened by something extraordinary that had arisen in flight.”


We were not able to contact Carlos Antonio De los Santos directly to get his feedback of the illustrations for a more accurate depiction of the craft. We made our reconstruction of this sightinh based on the description provided by Carlos, his drawings and specially the scale model shown later on by him of the UFO. We know that this is not identical to the craft, but it is a very close approximate representation that we feel the craft looked like. Then agian, only Carlos Antonio De los Santos Montiel can be the judge of that.

Fig.1   Sketches produced by Carlos De los Santos offered to the investigators in different occasions of the witnessed crafts.


Fig.2   Reproduction of a sketch that was published on a local newspaper at the time produced by Carlos De los Santos.

Fig.3   Scale model shown for Carlos De los Santos later on that depict in three-dimensional form the UFO’s shape.

Fig.4   Picture taken later after the event. From left to right: Ignacio la Mora[Carlos’ uncle], Carlos De los Santos Montiel, Fernando Pareja[APRO Field Investigator].


- mysteriousuniverse.org- Captured in Midair: The Carlos Antonio de los Santos Case | Article

- NICAP Report | Article

- prufon-news.com  | Article

- Mexican TV Show: La Sobremesa, Carlos De los Santos Interview[Spanish] | Youtube

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