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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 10

The Ladybower 'Tornado Pilot' (Sheffield Incident)

From: Robert Moore <ENGIMA9@compuserve.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999 17:39:03 -0400
Fwd Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 03:30:10 -0400
Subject: The Ladybower 'Tornado Pilot' (Sheffield Incident)

[Non-subscriber Post]

Dear UFO UpDates

On reading Max Burn's recent posting to this forum re the
"Sheffield Incident", I though some might like to see this
extract from a detailed three-part series regarding the "Howden
Moors Incident", which appearred in the UK UFO group magazine
BUFORA Bulletin. A version of this particular item was published
in Part "2" of this series (which appearred in Issue "6" of the

This excerpt very clearly demonstrates that the so-called
"Ladybower Tornado pilot" story has long been accounted for in
rational - and sadly all too human - terms.


Robert Moore



The Ladybower "Tornado Pilot".

Dr. David Clarke & Robert Moore

Mr. E.V (a trainee RAF aircraft propulsion mechanic) contacted
the police on the night of March 24, 1997, to report seeing a
man behaving suspiciously on the A57 "Snake Pass" road at
Ladybower near Sheffield. This was roughly one hour after the
various 999 calls to police reporting a "plane crash" on Howden

E.V had been returning with a group of friends on a minibus from
an outdoor pursuits centre near Glossop at 11pm, which was
travelling across the Snake Pass towards Sheffield. When
crossing the Ladybower viaduct over the reservoir the bus was
flagged down by a man who was acting suspiciously. According to

"[This man] 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
Sheffield. 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

When E.V returned home to Rotherham, his parents told him about
the search for the mystery plane on the Derbyshire moors, The
following morning (on the 25th March) E.V reported this incident
to South Yorkshire Police, but heard no more about it. At no
time did E.V connect this man with UFOs, aliens or Tornado
fighters shot down over the moors.

Almost a year later he received a letter from UFO researcher Max
Burns (who had obtained his home address from a copy of a log
belonging to South Yorkshire Police, provided by a
Sheffield-based ufologist). According to E.V, in the letter
Burns identified himself as "a journalist working for a national
organisation." After asking him to repeat his account of the
events Burns asked if he could use his testimony in a story he
was working on for a national newspaper (the Sunday tabloid The
News of the World).

Permission was granted, but according to E.V '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.
Even when the subject of UFOs was aired in a later conversation
all Max would say was that "he did not disbelieve in ETs". A few
days later, E.V was contacted by a News of the World reporter
who asked him "if it would be all right for them to use the
story which Max had told them he had said."

E.V was subsequently contacted by David Clarke, who interviewed
him on two occassions (on May 11 and 12, 1998 respectively) and
also discussed this matter with his parents.

In the course of his interview E.V was appraised by Clarke of
the "type" of story the News Of The World were hoping to run,
which was going to using his name and testimony as evidence. He
was nothing short of horrified. He told Clarke that Burns had
said nothing about any claims about UFOs shooting down
Tornadoes, or RAF cover-ups. E.V stated; "I don't know anything
about that, all I told him were the facts I remembered from that
night, I don't believe he was a pilot for one minute."

Shortly after discussing this matter with David Clarke, E.V
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. In any event it transpired
that the News Of The World never used it. Furthermore, Burns
never sent E.V a copy of his report on the Dronfield/Howden
Moors event, and when Clarke read him extracts from it he could
not believe what he was hearing!

In the light of Max Burns' claims, David Clarke questioned him
about the clothes this man was wearing. To this question E.V.
replied; "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 immediately "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."

Asked how he would react if anyone claimed he had been
"silenced" because he had "withdraw" his testimony, E.V
responded; " 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 [Burns] not to involve me any further. I just
told him what I saw that night and that is all I know."

The statements concerning the "paraffin soaked man" made by E.V
to Clarke concurs with the statement E.V made to the police,
recorded in the South Yorkshire Police incident log of the
incident dated 25th March 1997. Clarke was allowed access to
this entry, which read as follows:

[Call logged 1808]... "just after 11pm last night he was a
passenger in a minibus which was travelling across the Snake
Pass back towards Sheffield. When crossing the viaduct over the
reservoir at Ladybower, they were flagged down by a man who was
walking towards Sheffield. The man said he needed to get to
Sheffield and wanted a lift. The minibus was so full it was
declined. There were no parked vehicles anywhere in the area.
The man smelled strongly of diesel. Said to be of eastern
extraction, Indian/Pakistani, and dressed in dark brown

Initially, Clarke queried senior Peak Park Ranger Brian Jones
about this event, who remembered the incident straight away.
Details concerning 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. He stated "I do remember the
incident as it was reported to the Peak Park Ranger service the
next morning. 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."

Clarke then contacted Derbyshire Police Inspector Andy Howard,
the duty police inspector at Bakewell, Derbyshire (who was on
duty on the night of March 24). Inspector Howard confirmed the
incident had occurred as described by the Ranger, but due to its
sensitive nature no Press statement had been released at the

David Clarke (in the course of his job) reports on upwards of
50-100 suicides per year, often by the most gruesome of methods
- hanging, carbon monoxide poisoning and overdoses being the
three most common in his experience. Every one of these cases
obviously has to has to handled careful, considering the trauma
of the victim's families and friends.

Suicide by pouring petrol or flammable liquid over clothes and
then lighting the mixture is also unfortunately quite common,
with 2 or 3 deaths per year on average occurring in the
Sheffield area. It is a well known fact that potential suicides
often utilize isolated spots- like the Peak District - so as to
avoid any "rescue" attempts.

When a suicide is successful, police reveal details to the
Press, a public inquest is held and is reported by journalists.
Where a suicide is attempted but not successful, police (as a
matter of policy) withhold details from the Press so as not to
add to the trauma and suffering of the victim who is often
disturbed or mentally ill, which was the case with the March
24th Ladybower Viaduct incident.

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