Area resident’s eyewitness account of Coyame UFO incident a festival highlight
By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA
PRESIDIO – Imagine if you will, a time and place where fireballs erupt in the heavens over a vast desert. A place where an unknown and unseen force could take down an army and bewilder a population. This is an area between Presidio, Texas and Coyame, Chihuahua, Mexico. The year is 1974. It is a place we call the border zone.
Presidio hosts the first BoderZone UFO Festival this weekend, which will focus on the an August 25, 1974 UFO crash that occurred about 40 miles near Presidio and resulted in the deaths of a Mexican military attachment sent to recover the wreckage.
“We’re very excited about this,” said Noe Torres, a UFO investigator and co-author of the book, ‘Mexico’s Roswell: The Chihuahua UFO Crash.’ “We’re happy that the City of Presidio allowed us to hold this event.”
Torres has authored six books on the subject. He became interested in the Mexico crash after seeing Ruben Uriarte on a History Channel show speaking about the incident.
“Ruben did the original legwork,” Torres said. “I was working on a book of UFO sightings in Texas. I’m from the Rio Grande Valley and the thing about this crash was that the UFO came in from the Gulf of Mexico and was heading straight toward Corpus Christi, near my hometown of Brownsville, before it made a u-turn at full speed to Mexico.”
The festival will host a wide arrange of speakers, including world-renown author and nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, Ismael Cuellar, and Dennis Balthaser. There will also be an open forum at the Presidio Activity Center (PAC) on Friday, where attendees are invited to share personal experiences with the unknown.
Johnnie Chambers, a retired Presidio school teacher at the small Candelaria schoolhouse for many years before it closed and who ranched nearby, will speak of her experience witnessing the 1974 crash with her son, John.
“My son and I were going back to Ruidosa from the springs,” she said this week, “and we were high up on the ridge and we saw a huge fireball. I didn’t have a whole lot of time, as I was teaching in Ruidosa, but my son talked to people in town who saw the same thing. We thought it was an airplane crash. It was a just a huge, huge fiery light. It was red and blue. [The organizers of the festival] were really excited when they found out I saw it. I hadn’t thought about it years.”
Stir things up, it will. Also expected to speak at the forum is a former mayor of Presidio who will recount an experience on a school trip between Marfa and Presidio. There will be a panel discussion at the meeting with Friedman, Balthaser, Uriarte, and Torres.
The conference is both Friday and Saturday at the PAC.
A series of lectures will also be held on Friday in neighboring Ojinaga, Mexico organized by Grupo de Investigacion de Fenomenos Aero Espaciales. Topics will cover UFO sighting and encounters throughout the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Passports will be required to cross the border, so organizers insist you bring yours for the full experience of the BorderZone festival.
“I think the festival will be an interesting event.” Says Chambers. “I hope it’ll stir things up in Presidio.”
The BorderZone UFO Festival is part of an unusually busy week in the Presidio area, which includes La Junta Gathering No. 4 at the confluence of the Rio Grande and Rio Conchos as well as the Dude of the Dead Music Festival, which will host local musicians and bands playing out in the open air near Ruidosa. Camping is available at both events.
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