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ALSACAT:

As its name suggests, ALSACAT is my comprehensive catalog of UFO sighting reports in Alsace, the region is the North-East of France, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ALSACAT catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file. A general index and thematic sub-catalogs give access to these Alsatian case files.

Case of Battenheim, on July 19, 1998:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1998-07-19-BATTENHEIM-1

Summary:

The regional newspaper Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace for July 20, 1998, reported a story of "ghost plane" on Battenheim, indicating that a motorist who was driving on the A-35 motorway north of Mulhouse had reported the day before at 04:45 p.m. at the Gendarmerie that he had seen a small plane disappear in the forest, near Battenheim.

The gendarmes of the company of Mulhouse immediately put in place a search party. The overflight of the area by a helicopter based at Xonrupt-Longemer did not identify any wreckage in the Hardt forest.

No missing plane had been reported by the area's air authorities.

The same July 20, 1998, the other regional newspaper, L'Alsace, reported that the day before at 05:00 p.m., the SATER procedure (air-land rescue) had been triggered by the prefect of Haut-Rhin to try to find a plane; which, according to "the witnesses", fell over the forest of the Hardt, near the gas station located on the A-35 at Battenheim, as had been reported in L'Alsace the day before.

The search was stopped on Sunday evening at dusk, resumed on Monday morning at 7 a.m. because on Sunday, around 7:10 p.m., the coordination and rescue center of Saint-Mars-la-Pile, near Tours, which controls air traffic over the entire northern half of France, reported the loss of a radar echo in an area about one kilometer from where the witnesses would have seen the plane crash.

Seventy gendarmes of the companies of Mulhouse, Colmar, Guebwiller, Thann and Altkirch were mobilized and searched the forest area, opposite the gas station of the A-35, for three hours. But they did not find anything. And as verifications made by the rescue center of Saint-Mars-la-Pile revealed that no aerodrome reported the disappearance of a plane, nor the triggering of a distress beacon, the prefecture of Haut-Rhin decided to stop the search.

This affair, which has no relation with UFOs at all, entered in ufology nevertheless via ufologist Joël Mesnard, who assures that there is a phenomenon of "crashes of nothing", in relation to UFOs according to him, that he describes as follows:

Witnesses observe the passage of an aircraft (plane, ultralight, helicopter, balloon, parachute) which seems in difficulty, loses altitude and crashes in the distance. The alerted authorities undertake searches in the indicated area, but no trace of a possible crash is found, and it appears that no aircraft disappearance has been reported, so that the case is closed without further action.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: July 19, 1998
Time: 04:45 p.m.
Duration: Not reported.
First known report date: July 19, 1998
Reporting delay: Minutes, hours.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Battenheim
Place: Driving on highway A-35 not far from the Aire de Battenheim.
Latitude: 47.840
Longitude: 7.394
Uncertainty ratio: 10 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1 or more
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Call to the Gendarmes.
Type of location: Driving on highway.
Visibility conditions: Day.
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
Entities: N/A
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Alarmed.
Witnesses interpretation: Plane crashing.

Classifications:

Hynek: N/A
ALSACAT: Not UFO-related.

Sources:

[Ref. dn1:] "DERNIERES NOUVELLES D'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

BATTENHEIM

Ghost plane

A motorist who was driving on the A 35 north of Mulhouse reported yesterday at 4:45 p.m., to the gendarmerie, have seen a small plane disappear in the forest, to Battenheim.

The gendarmes of the company of Mulhouse immediately put in place a search party. Overflight of the area by helicopter, currently based at Xonrupt-Longemer, did not identify any wreckage in the Hardt Forest.

The search was to continue last night, although no missing aircraft were reported by the area's air authorities.

[Ref. la3:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

Crash alert: vain search

Sunday at 17 p.m., the SATER plan (air-land rescue) was triggered by the prefect of the Haut-Rhin to try to find an airplane, which, according to witnesses, would have fallen over the Hardt Forest, near the gas station, situated on the A35 [highway], at the level of Battenheim (see "L'Alsace-Lundi"). Research were stopped Sunday evening at nightfall. However, they resumed yesterday morning at 7 a.m. because on Sunday at about 07:10 p.m., the coordination and rescue center of Saint-Mars-la-Pile, near Tours, which controls air traffic across the northern half of France, had reported the loss of a radar echo in an area about one kilometer from where the witnesses had seen the plane crashing. Seventy gendarmes of the companies of Mulhouse, Colmar, Guebwiller, Thann and Altkirch were mobilized. They combed the forest area, in front of the service station of the A 35, for three hours. But they found nothing. And as checking was done by the rescue center of Saint-Mars-la-Pile, no airport has reported the disappearance of an airplane, or the outbreak of a beacon, the prefecture of Haut-Rhin decided to stop the search operation.

[Ref. ld1:] GERARD PAULHIAC AND JOEL MESNARD:

6. Battenheim,
July 19, 1998

Patrick Straub found in les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace for July 20, 1998, and in the daily newspaper l'Alsace of the next day the account of a case that occurred at 04:45 p.m., on Sunday 19.

A motorist traveling on the A 35, at the height of Battenheim (a few kilometers north of Mulhouse) signaled the fall of a small plane in the forest of the Hardt (which borders the east side of the highway).

The Prefect of the Haut-Rin triggered the Sater plan at 5 p.m.. The gendarmes of the company of Mulhouse, aided by a helicopter, searched the area until dark, and resumed the search the next day at 7 a.m., although no aerial disappearance had been reported. In fact, at 07:10 p.m. on the Sunday (so nearly two hours and a half after the driver had alerted the authorities), the coordination and rescue center of Saint-Mars-la-Pile (near Tours) observed the loss of a radar echo about a kilometer from where the crash had been reported. Seventy gendarmes combed the area in vain, and the research was interrupted only after three hours.

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN - "BASE OVNI FRANCE":

Battenheim (68) on 19 juillet 1998

General features

Num Base: 3166
Department: Haut Rhin (68)
Place of observation: Battenheim
Latitude: 47.833
Longitude: +7.383
Date of observation: July 19, 1998
Hour: 16:45 hours
Duration (HH:MM:SS): N.C.
Weather: No weather indication
Type of observation: Visual: Distant
Nbr of witness(es): 1
Official investigation: Yes

Features of the object

Nbr of object: 1
Type of object: Non-défini
Size: Not specified
Color: not defined
Luminosity: Not specified
Visual characteristics: No indication
Speed: not defined
Movement/Displacement: Not specified
Object on the ground: No
Instantaneous disappearance: Non

Type of noted effects

Physical effects: Radar Echo,

Observation

A motorist circulating on the A35 observes the fall of what he thinks being a small plane in the forest of the Hardt [sic]. A rescue plan is started. Although no plane is reported lost, it must benoted [sic] that the radar center of 5 Mars la pile [sic] had located the loss of an unspecified echo radar at one km of the place of the description of the crash, but towards 07:10 p.m.

Sources

Lumières dans la Nuit issue 369

[Ref. od1:] "OVNI-DIRECT" WEBSITE:

"Crashes of nothing" or "Ghost Crashes"

Published 11/13/2013

Source: Joel Mesnard of the LDLN magazine

A "Crash of nothing" is an object that crashes in the distance although no debris is found.

That is to say that the witnesses observe the passing of an aircraft (plane, Ultralight, helicopter, balloon, parachute) that seems to be in trouble, loses altitude and crashing [sic] in the distance. It is whe [sic] the authorities are immediately alerted then searches are started in the indicated area. But is is only after several hours of search of the area that one finally notices no trace of a supposed crash. Then it is learnd [sic] that no aircraft disappearance was reported and at the end the searches are paused. The case thus remains without continuation !!!

This unbelievable characteristic of the ufo phenomenon represents an essential feature never to be ignored and the cases are much more frequent that one images.

What relationship with the flying saucers, cigars or luminous balls that are usually observed?

There exist numerous observation in which the witnesses tell they are observing a plane or another conventional craft when this one suddenly changes into an unidentified flying object following out of the ordinary trajectories.

One knows now how manipulatory the ufo phenomenon behaves, blurry and intelligent. It often tries to cast confusion in the brain of the witnesses.

Somes cases partially listed in this table

Date Place Description Source
07/19/1998 Battenheim (68) A small plane DNA 20/07 : L'Alsace 21/07, LDLN 369

[Ref. sp4:] SPICA UFOLOGY GROUP:

City Date and hour of observation General shape
Identification
General color
Hypothesis
Conclusion
BATTENHEIM Sunday 19 July 1998 at 16:45 various others
Undentified
information not communicated
None
Unsolved -lack of info

[Ref. jm1:] JOEL MESNARD:

This ufologist indicates that on July 19, 1998, around 04:45 p.m., a motorist circulating on the A 35 reported the fall of a small plane in the forest of the Hardt. The Préfet of the Haut-Rhin triggered the SATER plan at 5 p.m.. The Gendarmes, assisted by a helicopter, searched the area until nightfall, and resumed search at 7:00 a.m. the next day, although no plane was reported missing.

On Sunday around 07:10 p.m. the radar center of Saint-Mars-la-Pile had observed the loss of a radar echo about 1 km from the place where the motorist had reported the crash two hours and a half earlier. 7 gendarmes had searched the area in vain.

Joël Mesnard says that the sources are Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace for July 20, 1998, L'Alsace for July 21, and LDLN 369 page 15.

Discussion:

The mentioned gas station is currently the Total Battenheim Relay, Battenheim drivers resting area - km 168 of the A-35, 68390 Battenheim.

There are 11 km from the Rixheim aerodrome to the Battenheim area.

It is possible that the motorist was on the A-35 at the Battenheim gas station, driving south. Opposite or left to him, is Rixheim airfield, without mentioning the of Basel Mulhouse airport (Euroairport).

Did anyone just check that there was no plane landing in Rixheim at that time? Who would have obviously seemed to "fall in the forest" to a motorist who would not have been aware there is an airfield there?

It would have been good to have an answer to this question before making claims about a "phenomenon" of "crash of nothing"...

The A-35 passes through the Battenheim drivers' resting area and gas
station, along the Rixheim airfield, then continue towards the Euroairport.
In the probable line of sight of the motorist, the forest of the Hardt hides
on 11 kilometers long highway the presence of the airfield!

Aerial view:

The Battenheim drivers rest area, along the A-35 motorway. On the left, part of the Hardt forest,
and in the forest, the Rixheim airfield. This shows that a motorist there could have believed
a small plane was falling into the forest as it actually landed on the airstrip.

Evaluation:

Not UFO-related.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Authoring:

Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross January 20, 2018 Creation, [dn1], [la1], [la2], [ld11], [lc1], [od1], [sp4], [jm1].
1.0 Patrick Gross January 20, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on January 20, 2018.