A large ball of fire was reported hovering close to the farm reservoir in 1972 by Boer de Klerk, a worker on Bennie Smit’s farm in the Fort Beaufort region.
He invited Smit to see “the ugly thing” by calling her. Smit contacted the police while retrieving his .303 rifle.
The UFO vanished into the vegetation after numerous rounds were fired with just one hit, which caused it to change color.
Fort Beaufort UFO Incident
East London, Cape Town’s Bernardus (“Bennie”) Smit was the proprietor of a plumbing business. He was taking a holiday on his Braeside estate, 14 kilometers outside Beaufort, in June 1972.
On June 26, an official named Boer de Klerk assessed a minor dam on a clear, beautiful morning.
He was preparing to start a bonfire at the spot when he noticed smoke coming from a cluster of trees. He yelled, thinking it was an invader.
Then a “shiny, color-changing object” suddenly appeared from the trees and hovered above, scaring the worker. He sprinted to the farmhouse to inform the owner of the situation.
Boer de Klerk brought Mr. Smit to the location of the event.
The mysterious object was burning red when the owner arrived at the scene. While they observed, it changed to brilliant green, white yellow, and bright green.
The UFO had an oval form and what looked to be a white star above the upper right corner.
The farmer went home to get his firearm and summon the Fort Beaufort police while leaving his employee to watch.
When Mr. Smit returned to the scene, he fired at the object, still moving slowly and changing color. Mr. Smit had an excellent shooting reputation.
Two police officers, the Van Rensburg’s station commander and Sargent Kitching of the Police, were alerted by the farm’s owner and rushed to the incident, arriving at Braeside at approximately 10 am.
Boer de Klerk and three other officials went to try to drive the item out of the dense bush. Still, Mr. Bennie Smit and the officers kept it under observation.
Sgt. Kitching noticed as they guided the workers through the bushes that the object responded intelligently since it descended out of view when the workers yelled from the bushes.
The UFO could not be found. So workers were compelled to come back.
For the police to see the UFO and direct him, Mr. Smit tried to find the UFO.
He entered the undergrowth with a handkerchief tied to a long pole. He also failed, and Mr. Smit came back.
Sergeant Kitching and Mr. Smit fired bullets at the UFO once the men were out of the line of fire. Sergeant Kitching attacked the UFO first at a distance of 250 meters, then Mr. Smit proceeded, reaching 10 meters from it, firing twice at point-blank range.
Bennie Samite recalled, “The eighth shot seemed to hit him. A thud was heard.”
There were a total of 15 rounds fired, but none of them seemed to have any impact on the target.
Commander Van Rensburg took note of how the mysterious object was shaped:
“After Mr. Smit and Sgt. Kitching fired a few shots. We observed a round, glossy, black object emerging behind the trees. Although it changed from black to red and then to yellow, it might have been made of metal. The UFO was not a “fireball” of any type. It was a large, bright, and dark object illuminated from all sides.”
“Boer, who saw it first, said it was about 4 feet long, but others thought it was somewhere between 1 and 2 meters,” according to Bennie Smit.
Soon later, a machine-like buzz started coming from the thing. Officer Van Rensburg claimed that the UFO veered to the left and vanished into Fordyce Bush. This forested area is dense, practically impenetrable, and undeveloped. When the UFO eventually disappeared, it was already beyond noon.
On June 27, several pieces in influential newspapers in South Africa broke the news of these incidents.
Readers were welcomed with headlines like:
- “Police and Farmers Open Fire to Flying Saucer” (The Cape Times);
- “Cop Speaks of Flying Saucer” (The Argus);
- Bennie shoots at a weird fireball (Christmas Mercury);
- Targeted flying object (Johannesburg Star).
Fort Beaufort UFO Incident Investigations
The Eastern Cape Police Division Commander, Brigadier A. Vosloo, was in charge of the fact-finding mission that visited Braeside Farm early on June 28.
Three sets of three prints, or marks, were discovered where the object was spotted.
The police team took pictures of these footprints, studied them, and created casts.
For inspection and analysis, including checks for oil or fuel residues, soil samples were taken.
The marks were peculiar. The impression they produced was that the object’s legs spiraled out and stopped when they touched the ground.
They were around 5 cm in diameter. The clay stamp indicated the clockwise rotation.
The marks were photographed, and the police eventually made them publicly available. Warrant Officer Van Rensburg reported that the moist, clayey soil surrounding the crevices had no other markings and appeared unaffected.
Additionally, no signs of any type could have led to the small clearing where the marks were discovered.
It was hypothesized that the thing had three triangle-shaped legs and had repeatedly landed and taken off.
The Brigadier allegedly claimed that the marks were not evenly spaced the following day.
“This,” he said, “makes me doubt the whole matter.”
Brigadier Vosloo continued,
“However, the four people—including two police officers—who saw the object were adamant about it, and their descriptions matched except concerning size.”
He omitted the three additional workers who tried to scare the UFO away. The item was around 3 meters in diameter, appeared composed of metal, and changed color as it moved like a spinning top, according to the Brigadier’s information, the generally informed reporters.
Van Rensburg led a group of 12 police officers in a 5-square-kilometer hunt for more remains, but they came up empty-handed.
More UFO Incidents days later
Days later, on July 4, South Africans read in their media that a UFO had been spotted over Fort Beaufort and that police had been informed.
Some speculated that this was the return of the UFO.
According to news reports, given the official skepticism regarding the first incident, Van Rensburg got out of bed, glanced outside, and decided it was pointless to inquire into the second.
A large group of individuals witnessed this thing on Sunday, July 2.
It was a disc-shaped “star-like” object that passed across Grahamstown toward Braeside in a burst of red, blue, green, and yellow.
Additionally, it “appeared to be landing” and released a steady beam of light.
On the morning of Monday, July 3, the restrained and circumspect municipal park ranger, Mr. R. L. Brown, reported that he had witnessed a UFO above the Fordyce Bush region of the Braeside property the previous evening at 7:15 pm.
The UFO visited the Argyle farm then with Billy Tidbury, his stepson, Mrs. Eileen Meiring of Cape Town, and his 14-year-old son.
They watched for nearly 20 minutes while the object’s color changed from a distance of 700 meters. The light grew bright and crimson as it transitioned from yellow and blue to white.
It looked like a flat triangular shape with what might have been a tail.
Mr. Brown estimated its length to be around 7 feet. The item illuminated the landscape as it moved up, down, and over the bush. He suddenly began to move in Grahamstown while “going crazy.”
Did the UFO return for revenge?
When another UFO was reported heading toward Braeside on Monday, July 3, it was said that Mrs. Alicia Smit, Bennie’s wife, also saw the colored object simultaneously.
The Fort Beaufort City Council convened, and the mayor, two council members, photographers, and interested bystanders drove in convoy to the farm to view the thing for themselves. However, by the time they reached it, it had already vanished.
But on Saturday, July 8, two mysterious explosions were heard from the Braeside Fann. At daybreak, Smit discovered that his reservoir was shattered.
The reservoir was 8 m in diameter, made of heavy brick and cement, and held thousands of gallons of water.
- Witness Credibility: Good;
- Number of Witnesses: 7;
- Evidence: Photos;
- Physical Evidence: Ground marks;
- Official Investigation: Local Police;
- Close Encounter: Third Kind;
- Documents: 0
More information about the 1972 Fort Beaufort UFO Incident
- Flying Saucer Review Newsletter. Case Histories. Supplement 11 – August 1972. Page 1-7.
- Flying Saucer Review Newsletter. Vol. 18, no. 5 – September/October 1972. Page 9-10.
- APRO Bulletin. Vol. 21, no. 2 – September/October 1972. Page 1.
- UFO Afrinews Bulletin – nº 4 – March 1991. Page 18.