The Mysterious Incident Of Captain Lawrence J. Coyne

When it comes to UFOs, it is one of the most interesting things about space and flight.

Image by Christian Plass from Pixabay

Even the most uninterested spectator becomes interested at the mere mention of unexplained flying objects.

Again, in an incident that occurred on October 18, 1973, in north central Ohio, UFOs became the talk of the town and beyond. Ohio residents witnessed mysterious lights shining in the sky to the west over Lake Charles Mill on the night of the 18th. The next morning, October 19th, helicopter pilots near Mansfield reported seeing similar lights in what is now known as the Coyne Incident.

Of the 1973 series of sightings, the Coyne Incident, according to the Center for UFO Studies, was the most credible. Piloted by Capt. Lawrence J. Coyne, the U.S. Army Reserve UH-1H helicopter left the Port of Columbus at approximately 10:30 p.m. and headed 96 nautical miles north-northeast to Cleveland Hopkins Airport. In charge of the helicopter, Coyne sat in the front right seat. At the time, he was 36 years old and had been flying since he was 17. 1st Lt. Arrigo Jezzi sat in the front left seat at the controls. Jezzi was a 26-year-old chemical engineer.

Behind Jezzi sat Sergeant John Healey of the Cleveland Police Department and Sergeant Robert Yanacsek. They were 35 and 25 years old respectively. Healey was a flight medic and Yanacsek was a computer technician. That night the sky was clear. The helicopter was cruising at an altitude of 2,500 feet above sea level, a mix of rolling hills, forests, and farmland. The helicopter’s airspeed was 90 knots. About 10 miles outside Mansfield, at around 11 pm, a solitary red light moving south from the west was seen by Healey.

Yanacsek reported seeing it on the horizon in the southeast because he thought it was a tower light or a light from the wing of an airplane. But he soon realized it was something else when the light began to rapidly approach their helicopter. Taking on the threat, Coyne quickly made a descent of 500 feet per minute. At the same time, he called the National Guard aircraft tower in Mansfield to check if it was one of their planes. However, after the first contact, all transmissions were lost. Even as Coyne increased his rate of descent to 2,000 feet per minute at 100 knots, the object was approaching at a faster rate than theirs.

As the crew readied them for impact, suddenly the light stopped and began to hover above and in front of the helicopter. They soon realized it was an aircraft of alien origin. As described by all the helicopter crew members, the UFO was a cigar-shaped gray metal structure with a slightly domed top, but no other distinguishing features. On the object’s dome, Yanacsek noted what appeared to be windows. As the UFO hovered overhead, the helicopter’s flight crew could see inside the object through its Plexiglas windows on the roof.

There was a red light on the bow and an intense white light on the stern of the UFO. Inside the object, there was a green “pyramid-shaped” beam, like a searchlight, that was so powerful that it entered the helicopter, and the helicopter was filled with that green light.

For about 10 seconds, the helicopter began to hover and move upwards toward the object. Crew members said they felt the helicopter was being dragged by the UFO. Soon the UFO took off at high speed to the west and left the helicopter behind.

The UFO then made a U-turn and ran over Lake Erie. According to Jezzi, it was traveling faster than the 250-knot limit for aircraft below 10,000 feet, but not as fast as many other witnesses believed it to be at 600 knots. The helicopter crew had no idea and could not determine what happened to them. After that, they started their journey heading towards their destination which was Cleveland.

After that incident, Coyne revealed that before the encounter, he was a UFO skeptic. But after witnessing what happened that day, he no longer has any doubts about the existence of UFOs.

When Coyne went to the Mansfield National Guard Tower to investigate the UFO incident, he discovered that the Mansfield National Guard Tower had no records of any interaction with him at all, not even the tape of the initial contact. However, they confirmed that there were no other aircraft present at the time of the UFO contact.

At the time of the meeting, Coyne had also noticed that the magnetic compass in the helicopter had not worked. So later when he asked the maintenance crew to fix it, they were unable to do so and eventually had to replace the entire unit.

Due to the unblemished reputation of the crew, the Coyne Incident remains one of the most credible UFO encounters to date. The flight crew received a $5,000 award from the National Enquirer Blue Ribbon Panel for the “most significant scientific report” of 1973.

The Coyne incident received a great deal of public attention and many articles and news stories were published about it.

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