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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 15

Sheffield 'Incident' - New Evidence

From: David Clarke <dclarke14@compuserve.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 15:00:23 -0400
Fwd Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 16:41:10 -0400
Subject: Sheffield 'Incident' - New Evidence

>From Dave Clarke, Sheffield

To recap:  Max Burns claims a witness called Jonathon Dagenhart
saw the co-pilot of a Tornado fighter jet which was destroyed by
a UFO it was pursuing above the Peak District of Northern
England on the evening of March 24, 1997.

This is the Burns scenario: After bailing out of his aircraft,
this co-pilot parachuted onto the A57 Snake Pass, one of the
busiest trans-Pennine roads linking the cities of Sheffield and
Manchester. Despite being soaked to the skin with highly
inflammable aviation fuel, the "co-pilot" did not radio
emergency services for help but decided to hitch a lift from a
passing mini-bus in which Mr Dagenhart and friends were
travelling to Sheffield...

Am I alone in smelling a rat here?

In a pathetic bout of name-calling Max claims I have lied about
my conversations with Dagenhart and further that all I can do is
follow his witnesses around "like a demented schoolboy".

However, Max does not own exclusive rights to "his" witnesses
and if he intends to use - or in this case manipulate - their
evidence to support wild claims about UFOs then he must expect
others to approach and question them too.

In this case by doing so I have managed to conclusively disprove
ALL of the claims Max has made about this incident and in the
process discovered the true  identity of this alleged

First of all I contacted Dagenhart directly on two occasions by
phone on May 11 and 12 and the following statement is taken
directly from shorthand notes transcribed immediately

"I was a passenger on a minibus which was travelling across the
Snake Pass towards Sheffield late on the night of March 24 last
year. When crossing the viaduct over the reservoir the bus was
flagged down by a man who was acting suspiciously.

"He spoke little English and was West Indian or Asian in
appearance, with short black hair and a round face. He did not
seem to know where he was and just said he wanted to get to

"The guy was covered in fuel of some sort and from the smell I
thought it was paraffin or diesel, but since then I have joined
the RAF and I can say it was a smell like aviation fuel.

"We didn't give the man a lift because the bus was full and we
didn't like the look of him, but I thought it was odd because
there were no parked cars anywhere near and it was a deserted

"The next day I heard about the search for the crashed plane and
rang police to report the incident, thinking the man might have
been an immigrant or criminal they were searching for."

Questioned about the clothes this man was wearing, in the light
of Max's claims, Dagenhart told me: "They were just ordinary
dark clothes. He was definitely not wearing the sort of uniform
associated with RAF pilots. I would have recognised that uniform

Dagenhart reported the incident to South Yorkshire Police on
March 25 and heard no more about it until he received a letter
from Max Burns, almost a year after the event.

Max had obtained this witnesses' home address from a copy of a
log belonging to South Yorkshire Police which had been provided
by another UFOlogist, Martin Jeffrey, of Sheffield.

According to Dagenhart, in the letter Max identified himself,
not as a UFOlogist, but as "a journalist working for a national

After asking him to repeat his account of the events Max asked
if he could use his testimony in a story he was working on for a
national newspaper (as it turns out the downmarket News of the
World). Permission was granted, but according to Dagenhart's
statement on May 12 "at no stage in any of this conversation did
Max tell me he was going to use what I told him in a story
claiming I had seen the co-pilot of a Tornado which had been
shot down by a UFO.

"I don't believe the man I saw was a pilot and if my name were
to go in a national newspaper associated with such a claim I
could get into serious trouble with my employers, the RAF.

"I haven't been silenced by anyone, I just don't want my name
connected with a story like this and that is why I intend to
tell Max not to involve me any further.

"I just told him what I saw that night and that is all I know."

Shortly after this conversation, Jonathon phoned Max, withdrew
permission for the story to go ahead, and asked him not to use
his name in connection with these claims as it could put his
career in jeopardy.

As readers of UFO UpDates will know, Max has ignored Max's
request and spread his name and the nature of his employment
across the globe on the Internet.

As the transcript of Max's phone conversation with Dagenhart
reveals, Max is jubilant because he has obtained exactly the
sort of story he was wanting to hear, so jubilant in fact he
says he would buy the witness flowers if he was a woman!

Now I come to my point: Who was this man "covered in aviation
fuel" encountered by Jonathon Dagenhart on the Snake Pass?

You would think any objective investigator worth his salt would
not accept a story like this at face value but  would at least
ask some obvious questions, including: why would a stricken
pilot hitch a ride on a minibus rather than contact the military
or emergency services by radio? Would an RAF pilot whose plane
had been destroyed above his own country find it so difficult to
speak English? How many Tornado pilots are of Asian or West
Indian appearance anyway?

But this is besides the point. As a thorough investigator, I got
to the truth within just half an hour by asking those who were
there at the time: first port of call was Inspector Andy Howard,
the duty police inspector at Bakewell, Derbyshire, who was on
duty on the night of March 24, and Brian Jones, the senior Peak
Park Ranger who is based at Fairholmes in the Derwent Valley and
is responsible for the management of the whole area.

Surprise, surprise, Brian Jones - who has 30 years' experience
as a National Park ranger - remembered the incident straight
away. Details about a man covered in petrol or paraffin
wandering on the Snake Pass that night had in fact been reported
to him by the police the next morning.

"I do remember the incident as it was reported to the Peak Park
Ranger service the next morning," he told me. "I understand it
was a failed suicide attempt. It was someone who had driven out
to the country and poured petrol or some other inflammable
liquid over himself. But he had not gone through with the
suicide. It had been reported to South Yorkshire Police who had
passed it to Derbyshire to deal with. It's the sort of thing
that happens occasionally in a remote area like this."

I then contacted Insp Howard who confirmed the incident had
occurred as described by the Ranger, but due to its sensitive
nature no Press statement had been released at the time.

So there we have it folks, not a co-pilot after all, but a
disturbed and possibly mentally ill individual who had made an
attempt to take his own life that night.

However, add a UFO believer desperate to find evidence of
crashed spaceships, UFO dogfights and massive cover-ups of
evidence, and hey presto, what have you got. Every mundane and
unrelated incident is used to bolster the flimsy evidence to
support a theory which cannot be proved. In this case, a man who
attempted suicide and another who witnessed the incident have
been used by a UFO believer to promote a preposterous yarn about
a UFO dogfight.

In Dagenhart's case his evidence is still being used on Max's
website as "evidence" despite this man's express desire not to
be involved, and regardless of the harm it may cause to his

As the saying goes Max - the game is up and you are rumbled.

Furthermore, and more importantly, you cannot answer to direct
questions I posed in a challenge on an earlier posting, and your
claims must therefore be relegated to the trash can.

I  rest my case.

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