On the evening of October 21, 1978, a 20-year-old Australian pilot flew a familiar route from Melbourne airport to King Island.
From all reports, it wasn’t a difficult one. But for the young Frederick Valentich, whatever happened while flying over the Bass Strait proved fatal.
He never come home, and his body was never recovered.
In the latest episode of Unexplained, a podcast about mysterious real life events that continue to evade explanation, the team delve into the unexplained disappearance of the young Melbourne pilot.
And it makes for some bizarre listening.
On the evening of the 21st of October, 1978, Frederick wanted to take his new fiancee, Rhonda, on a flight with him. He had proposed to the 16-year-old only the week before, and the two were keeping quiet on their intention to marry until she had turned 17 in the coming December.
However, when Rhonda was unable to swap out of work, he took the flight alone, intending to be home later that evening to take her to a local dance. It would be the flight that claimed his life.
On his journey home, Frederick radioed Melbourne air traffic control at 7:06 pm to say he was being accompanied by an aircraft about 300 m above him. Although Mellbourne air traffic control confirmed there was no known traffic at that level, Frederick continued to claim he could see a large unknown aircraft which appeared to be illuminated by four bright landing lights above him.
In the flight recording revealed soon after his disappearance, he is on tape describing the aircraft as “metallic” and “shiny on the outside”.
“It’s approaching from due east towards me,” Valentich said. “It seems to be playing some sort of game… flying at a speed I can’t estimate. It’s not an aircraft. It’s… It is flying past. It is a long shape. I cannot identify more than that. It’s coming for me right now.”