On December 31, 1978, the film crew boarded the Argossy aircraft for an interview with the crew. On December 20 and 21, another aircraft reported several UFOs, and this was the reason for the interview with Mr. Fogarty and his crew.
After just ten minutes of flight, they had their first encounter with a UFO. The operator quickly changed the lens of his camera to a 100 mm / 240 mm zoom lens and after midnight on January 1, 1979, he captured several UFOs that followed and approached the aircraft throughout the flight. He recorded UFOs from the cockpit windows and the presence of these unidentified flying objects was also confirmed by Wellington radars and air traffic control.
The original 16mm film has survived and was digitized by specialists. The result is a high definition Blue-Ray quality video. This made it possible to examine the details of the UFO filmed then by journalists.
The government of Robert Muldoon ordered the Air Force to conduct an investigation after the UFO encounter was published in the media, which concluded that the sightings could be attributed to natural but unusual phenomena.
It is worth noting that in the New Zealand Archives, all data on contacts with UFOs are classified and when, after numerous requests from the public, it was planned to make these files available, the military intervened, denying access to these files, citing the fact that the files contain personal information and in order to comply Of the Privacy Act, access to original files will be limited until 2050.
Reporters filming the UFO set off along the route where Valentich's plane mysteriously disappeared. In October, 20-year-old Frederic Valentich disappeared while piloting a small Cessna 182L over the Bass Strait and heading for King Island in Tasmania. Valentich told Melbourne Air Traffic Control that his plane was in pursuit of an unusual aircraft.
The pilot described the strange behavior of the UFO that appeared and its design features. The last message from Valentich in negotiations with the dispatcher read:
“This unusual plane hovered over me again. It hangs … and it's not an airplane."
Behind these words, the dispatcher heard a noise lasting 17 seconds, described as "metallic, grinding sounds", after which the connection was cut off. Neither Valentich himself nor his ship were ever found.
Two months later, strange lights were seen appearing and disappearing over the Kaikoura coastline on the island of Tasmania by pilots Vern Powell and Ian Peary on the Blenheim-Christchurch flight.
The producer of the Melbourne Channel, Leonard Lee, upon hearing the news, tracked down reporter Quentin Fogarty, who worked for the channel but was on vacation with his wife and children. He also hired Wellington-based freelance cameraman David Crockett, along with his wife, Ngair, as sound engineer.
On December 30, the entire group boarded Safe Air's Argosy aircraft in Blenheim. Shortly after takeoff, pilots Bill Startup and Bob Hood noticed strange lights appearing and disappearing over the Kaikoura coastline 20 miles west.
“While we were filming the booth for the camera, Captain Bill Startup shouted to us that we must urgently go to the cockpit, because something incomprehensible is happening,” said cameraman David Crockett.
He managed to capture a fast moving bright white light. David added: “I watched a bright light move in and out. Quentin grabbed both of my hands and began to shake. I didn't have time to worry … Quentin needed help."
The plane touched down in Christchurch to unload newspapers. The pilots asked reporters if they would like to return through the traversed section. Ngaire was too scared to remain in Christchurch. The rest agreed and took Dennis Grant on board instead of Ngaire.
“David used up all the film in his 16mm camera,” Grant says.
“Quentin called me after midnight from Christchurch Airport to see if I could provide a new roll of film. I could - but I made a condition: I wanted to get on a plane to fly to Blenheim."
The plane took off at 2:16 am. About three minutes after takeoff, the group saw a bright light on the right. The aircraft's radar showed a target in the same direction at a distance of about 18 nautical miles.
Later, Fogarty will say to the camera, "Let's hope they are friendly." Crockett filmed for only a few minutes. The light seemed to react to their movements in the cabin. When they turned, the light "moved away" from the plane. “The experience itself was extraordinary,” Fogarty said.