About 5:45 p.m. On duty police officer Lonnie Zamora was in the middle of a high speed chase outside Socorro, New Mexico, when he heard an explosion in the distance. He then witnessed a blueish orange flame, shaped like a funnel, descending in the sky about a mile southwest from him. At this time heard a roar and saw a flame in the sky to southwest some distance away, possibly ½ mile or a mile. It came to mind that a dynamite shack in that area had blown up, decided to leave chased car go.
Flame was bluish and sort of orange too. Could not tell size of flame. Sort of motionless flame, slowly descending. Was still driving car and could not pay too much attention to the flame. It was a narrow type of flame. It was like a stream down, a funnel type, narrower at top than at bottom. Flame possibly 3° or so in width, not wide.
Flame about twice as wide at bottom as top, and about four times as high as top was wide. Did not notice any object at top, did not note if top of flame was level. Sun was to west and did not help vision. Had green sun glasses over prescription glasses. Could not see bottom of flame because it was behind the hill. No smoke noted. Noted some "commotion" at bottom there was dust? Possibly from windy day, wind was blowing hard. Clear sunny sky otherwise, just a few clouds scattered over area.
Noise was a roar, not a blast. Not like a jet. Changed from high frequency to low frequency and then stopped. Roar lasted possibly 10 seconds, was going toward it at that time on the rough gravel road. Saw flame about as long as heard the sound. Flame same color as best as recall. Sound distinctly from high to low until it disappeared. Windows both were down. No other spectators noted, no traffic except the car in front, and car in front might have heard it but possibly did not see it because car in front was too close to hill in front, to see the flame.
After the roar and flame, did not note anything, while going up the somewhat steep rough hill, had to back up and try again, two more times. Got up about halfway first time, wheels started skidding, roar still going on, had to back down and try twice and rock. While beginning third time, noise and flame not noted.
After got to top, traveled slowly on the gravel road westwardly. Noted nothing for awhile, for possibly 10 or 15 seconds, went slow, looking around for the shack, did not recall exactly where the dynamite shack was.
Suddenly noted a shiny type object to south about 150 to 200 yards. It was off the road. At first glance, stopped. It looked, at first, like a car turned upside down. Thought some kids might have turned over. Saw two people in white coveralls very close to the object. One of these persons seemed to turn and look straight at my car and seemed startled, seemed to jump quickly somewhat.
At this time I started moving my car towards them quickly, with idea to help. Had stopped about only a couple seconds. Object was like aluminum, it was whitish against the mesa background, but not chrome. Seemed like O in shape and I, at first glance took it to be overturned white car. Car appeared to be up on radiator or on trunk, this first glance.
The only time I saw these two persons was when I had stopped, for possibly two seconds or so, to glance at the object. I don't recall noting any particular shape or possibly any hats, or headgear. These persons appeared normal in shape, but possibly they were small adults or large kids.
Then paid attention to road while drove towards scene.
Radioed to sheriff's office: Socorro 2 to Socorro, possible 10-44, accident, I'll be 10-6, busy out of the car, checking the car down in the arroyo.
Stopped car, was still talking on radio, started to get out, mike fell down, reached back to put up mike, then replaced radio mike in slot, got out of car and started to go down to where I knew the object, car, was.
Hardly turned around from car, when heard roar, it was not exactly a blast, very loud roar, at that close was real loud. Not like a jet knows what jets sound like. Started low frequency quickly, then roar rose in frequency, higher tone, and in loudness, from loud to very loud. At same time as roar saw flame. Flame was under the object. Object was starting to go straight up, slowly up. Object slowly rose straight up. Flame was light blue and at bottom was sort of orange color From this angle, saw the side of object, not end, as first noted. Difficult to describe flame. Thought, from roar, it might blow up. Flame might have come from underside of object, at middle, possibly a 4' area, very rough guess. Cannot describe flame further except blue and orange. No smoke, except dust in immediate area.
As soon as saw flame and heard roar, turned away, ran away from object but did turn head toward object. Bumped leg on car, back fender area. Car facing southwest. Glasses fell to ground, left them there. ran to north, car between him and object.
Object was oval, in shape. It was smooth, no windows or doors. As roar started, it was still on or near ground. Noted red lettering of some type. Insignia was about 30" high and about 24: wide I guess. Was in middle of object, Object still like aluminum white.
After fell by car and glasses fell off, kept running to north, with car between me and object. Glanced back couple of times. Noted object to rise to about level of car, about 20' to 25' guess, took I guess about six seconds when object started to rise and I glanced back. I ran I guess about halfway to where I ducked down, about 50' from the car is where I ducked down, just over edge of hill. I guess I had run about 25' when I glanced back and saw the object level with the car and it appeared about directly over the place where it rose from.
I was still running and I jumped just over the hill, I stopped because I did not hear the roar. I was scared of the roar, and I had planned to continue running down the hill. I turned around toward the object and at same time put my head toward ground, covering my face with my arms. Being that there was no roar, I looked up, and I saw the object going away from me. It did not come any closer to me. It appeared to go in straight line and at same height, possibly 10' to 15' from ground, and it cleared the dynamite shack by about 3'. Shack about 8' high.
Object was traveling very fast. It seemed to rise up, and take off immediately across country. I ran back to my car and as I ran back, I kept an eye on the object. I picked up my glasses, I left the sun glasses on ground, got into the car, and radioed to Nep Lopez, radio operator, to look out of the window, to see if you could see an object. He asked what is it? I answered: It looks like a balloon. I don't know if he saw it. If Nep looked out of his window, which faces north, he couldn't have seen it. I did not tell him at the moment which window to look out of.
As I was calling Nep, I could still see the object. The object seemed to lift up slowly, and to get small in the distance very fast. It seemed to just clear the Box Canyon or Six Mile Canyon Mountain. It disappeared as it went over the mountain. It had no flame whatsoever as it was traveling over the ground, and no smoke or noise.
Feeling in good health. Last drink, two or three beers, was over a month ago. Noted no odors. Noted no sounds other than described. Gave directions to Nep Lopez at radio and to Sergeant M.S. Chavez to get there.
Went down to where the object had been and I noted the brush was burning in several places. At that time I heard Sgt. Chavez, N.M. State Police at Socorro, calling me on radio for my location, and I returned to my car, told him he was looking at me. Then Sgt. Chavez came up, asked me what the trouble was, because I was sweating and he told me I was white, very pale. I asked the Sgt. to see what I saw, and that was the burning brush. Then Sgt. Chavez and I went to the spot, and Sgt. Chavez pointed out the tracks.
When I first saw the object, when I thought it might be a car, I saw what appeared to be two legs of some type from the object to the ground. At the time, I didn't pay much attention to what it was, I thought it was an accident, I saw the two persons. I didn't pay any attention to the two legs? The two legs were at the bottom of the object, slanted outwards to the ground. The object might have been about 3½" from the ground at that time. I just glanced at it.
Can't tell how long I saw object second time the close time, possibly 20 seconds, just a guess, from time got out of car, glanced at object, ran from object, jumped over edge of hill, then got back to car and radio as object disappeared.
As my mike fell as I got out of car, at scene area, I heard about two or three loud thumps, like someone possibly hammering or shutting a door or doors hard. These thumps were possibly a second or less apart. This was just before the roar. The persons were not seen when I drove to the scene area.
Just before Sgt. Chavez got to scene, I got my pen and drew a picture of the insignia on the object.
An FBI report dated May 8, 1964, notes that Zamora has been personally known for about 5 years and is well regarded as a sober, industrious, and conscientious officer and not given to fantasy.
The report also confirms the scorched foliage and the imprints, noting that:
Each depression seemed to have been made by an object going into the earth at an angle from a center line, and each pushed some earth to the far side.
Two years after the sighting, Major Hector Quintanilla, Air Force Chief of Project Blue Book at the time of the sighting, confided to intelligence specialists in a classified CIA publication that the Socorro case remained puzzling. With the help of many other agencies, he had conducted an exhaustive check of military activities looking for an explanation, but none could be found.
As other officers and investigators arrived, they discovered deep landing marks and footprints on the ground. FBI and Air Force personnel soon joined local authorities in the investigation, and found bent and burned brush in several places surrounding the spot where the object had sat.
Measurements taken by police verified that there were 4 indentations on the ground; the distance between them formed a quadrilateral whose diagonals intersected at exactly 90º angles.