There's a story going around that Chile supposedly revealed remarkable UFO photographs of an aerial object so advanced that government experts are claiming that humans could not have manufactured it.
According to several news accounts, that allegation comes from a renowned Chilean government-funded UFO research group. And if one quote in particular is true, it might be the news UFO researchers have been eagerly awaiting -- proof of an extraterrestrial visitation.
Sorry, folks. You're about to be disappointed.
The story unfolds in April 2013 when two photos emerge of an unusual disc-shaped object (seen below with close-up insert) over the Collahuasi copper mine in northern Chile. Several eyewitnesses watched as the UFO remained in the sky for over an hour, moving around and hovering.
According to the UK and Ireland edition of Yahoo! News, experts at the Committee for the Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA) have ruled, "It is not any weather phenomenon or any other known object made by man."
That's a bold statement to attribute to scientists of a country -- any country -- especially if it's true. The problem is, that's not what the organization said.
"We usually pay no attention to press articles of this nature," said Jose Lay, international affairs director for CEFAA, Chile's official government organization that studies UFOs. CEFAA is part of the ministerial department of civil aeronautics (DGAC) -- equivalent to the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States -- which is under the authority of the Chilean air force.
"This policy has earned us, in this country, the respect of the public at large who no longer go to pseudo-ufologists to make their reports or to sensationalist press as the one that published the article in question," Lay told The Huffington Post in an email from Chile.
Here's what actually happened.
After the sighting, the pictures were eventually sent to CEFAA for examination. In 2014, Lay told HuffPost blogger and best-selling author Leslie Kean that the UFO could not have been a drone operating in the mine area.
"Officials also ruled out any experimental aircraft, planes, weather balloons or anything else that could explain the incident," Kean wrote.
CEFAA investigated the photos and released its results in 2014, suggesting that the object, photographed from two different positions in the sky (see second image below), left witnesses with the impression that it was under intelligent control.
"The study concludes that 'It is an object or phenomenon of great interest, and it can be qualified as a UFO,'" Kean wrote in her HuffPost report.
It's unclear how CEFAA's investigation was misinterpreted by those other news organizations. CEFAA now confirms to HuffPost that the origin of the UFO was unexplained. However, officials did not state the strange object in the sky was so sophisticated that it could not be made by humans.
When HuffPost reached out to Lay, he maintained that several news reports "twisted what we ever declared about this case."
Watch this CEFAA analysis video of the Collahuasi Chile UFO.
In 2012, Kean was the first American invited to address a group of high-level military personnel, university scientists, aviation specialists and foreign attaches in Chile. In the image below, Kean is in the front row, with Lay sitting to her left.
What is CEFAA's official position about UFOs?
"We believe the phenomenon exists, and we base this asseveration on the many reports made by our pilots -- civilian and military -- and by our ground traffic and radar controllers," Lay told HuffPost. "We do not know its origin or its nature. That is why we continue investigating and hope many other countries will join us in this endeavor. Period.
"We have gathered a selected group of scientists from our most reputed universities to help us in the committee, together with aeronautic specialists from our DGAC. I must also mention the full support of all our armed services and police."
Lay added that Chile maintains contact with 14 countries around the world, some having their own official government organizations that study UFOs. He makes it very clear no one associated with CEFAA would have leaked the recent story, which claimed the 2013 Collahuasi copper mine UFO was "not made by man."
"In this environment of academic excellence, of professional and disciplined cooperation, where even our armed services are involved, it is impossible that CEFAA was to make a statement such as it was written...without totally convincing proof."