Lt. Col. Richard French, who served in the military for more than 27 years, was in Alamagordo, New Mexico, in 1947, when an unusual object fell from the sky and crashed to the ground in Roswell.
Military authorities issued a press release after the shocking incident, saying: ‘The many rumours regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence officer of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc.’
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But, just 24 hours later, the military retracted their earlier statement and claimed the object they had first thought was a 'flying disc' was a weather balloon that had crashed on a nearby ranch.
The media and the public accepted the explanation without question. Since then, conspiracy theorists and officials such as French have called into question the military's line on the incident.
‘There were actually two crashes at Roswell, which most people don't know,’ French told The Huffington Post.
‘The first one was shot down by an experimental U.S. airplane that was flying out of White Sands, New Mexico, and it shot what was effectively an electronic pulse-type weapon that disabled and took away all the controls of the UFO, and that's why it crashed.
Theory: Lt. Col. Richard French, who served in the military for more than 27 years, claims there were two UFO-related crashes in Roswell
Contentious: Former Air Force Col. Richard French says he was an official UFO debunker and there were two, not one, Roswell UFO crashes
‘When they hit it with that electromagnetic pulse - bingo! There goes all their electronics and, consequently, the UFO was uncontrollable.’
French, who claims he was ordered to debunk UFO sightings, said a confidential source in the military told him about the shooting down of the so-called alien spacecraft and added that there was a second crash near Roswell just days later.
'It was within a few miles of where the original crash was,' French told HuffPo. 'We think that the reason they were in there at that time was to try and recover parts and any survivors of the first crash. I'm [referring to] the people from outer space - the guys whose UFO it was.'
But other experts have rejected French's claims. 'No chance! Zero chance,' Army Col. John Alexander, tasked with investigating UFO sightings, told the website.
'In the 1980s, I was the guy developing all of the pulse-power weapons systems. We couldn't have done it then. In the 60s, they had a laser system, but your range was extremely limited, and we didn't have operational laser weapons in that time frame.'
But refutations have not stopped others from coming forward and contesting the military's official line.
Chase Brandon, an agent who served 25 years with the CIA, recently claimed that information relating to the crash had been concealed in a hidden vault within the agency's Langley headquarters.
'It was not a weather balloon - it was what people first reported,' he said. 'It was a craft that did not come from this planet.'
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