[CNI News thanks co-authors Philip Mantle of England and Anton A. Anfalov of the Ukraine for permission to publish this new research report. The text has been slightly edited for length. Further information on the authors follows the text. Philip Mantle can be reached by email at email@example.com.]
By Philip Mantle and Anton A. Anfalov
(March 1, 1998) -- The  explosion above the taiga in the Tunguska region of Russia is one of the largest explosions known to man, a well documented event chronicled in books and magazines around the world.
Fifty eight years later, at the end of June (or beginning of July according to some versions) 1966, approximately 1300 kilometres west of the l908 Tunguska site, another strange object came to earth accompanied by yet another huge explosion. There were media reports regarding this incident known as the "Obsky Meteorite," and it is still officially classified as top secret in Russia today. 1966 was a year of intense UFO activity in the Soviet Union.
Because of the secrecy surrounding this event, it was extremely difficult for Moscow based UFO researcher Nikolay Kuzmin to locate and interview the relevant witnesses whose eventual testimonies are thought to be only the tip of the iceberg as far as the "Obsky Meteorite" is concerned. The [following] information has come from four individual witnesses.
According to Kuzmin, the Russian military and scientific services have buried the facts of the case so deep that as yet no official documents have surfaced regarding this case, nor has the exact impact site been located.
The impact site is suspected to be some 10 to 15 kilometres northeast of the village of Topolevka, which is in the Tomsk region (approximately 584 kilometres northwest of Tomsk) in Western Siberia. Nearby are the rivers Ob and Tryigorodskaya, a tributary to the river Ob. This is near the border of the Truemj region and Tomsk region.
Moscow geologist Oleg Ivanovich was the first witness located by Kuzmin. Ivanovich recounted the following story:
"In the early part of summer in l966 I was invited on a geological prospecting expedition along the tributary Tryigorodskaya to the river Ob. Early in June we had flown from Moscow to Tomsk, then [gone] by boat up the river. The summer was very hot and it was my first trip to the taiga. The trees provided a marvellous landscape. We were surveying for suspected oil fields and deposits of combustible gases.
"We were camped out in the taiga wilderness some 20 to 30 kilometres northeast of Topolevka. One day -- I do not remember the exact date -- we were passing a bog when our cook Valya stumbled into it and was soon up to her waist in mud. Because of this minor accident, we stayed at this location for the night. We had a long march the next day so we took advantage of the rest.
"During this night I was awakened [by] a deafening wail. The noise was coming from the sky somewhere and it hurt my ears. The roof of our tent was illuminated by a blinding bright globe approaching us in the sky. Before I had time to run out of my tent the globe exploded. All around us erupted in flames. The trees were alight nearby and such was the intense heat that we took quilts from our beds, soaked them quickly in water, and pulled them over us for protection. It was this quick thinking that quite literally saved us that night.
"The next morning the fire had abated somewhat and the forest was charred and black. We gathered what few possessions had survived the fire and decided we had better get out of the area. Moving to the area where we thought the explosion had occurred, strange things started to happen. Our compass needle began to spin out of control, our radio set would not work and we began to feel weak and ill. The trees here were laid down in one direction with the tops ripped off, as if someone had taken a giant comb to them. It was here that we saw twinkling, bright coloured lights. The lights could be seen through the trees and flashing in what looked like a semicircle. We cautiously moved closer. Raised up out of the bog was a streamlined hull of an object which appeared to be charred and burnt.
"It looked like two basins put together with blinking lights around its rim. A hatch was ajar and dense smoke was flowing from its opening. Something dark lay prone near the edge of the hatch. Through the smoke it looked like some kind of tentacle.
"We could not get any closer, as there was no way we could travel across the bog. We were standing at about 25 meters away from this craft taking photos. I have to say right away that none of these photos came out. I suspect they were fogged by radioactivity. Before too long we all felt giddy and were overcome by nausea. My eyesight began to deteriorate as well, so we decided to retreat to what we considered a safe distance.
"It soon became dark and it was not long before we heard the first helicopter. It flew right over our heads. We could not use our radio to communicate with the helicopters, as it had failed to work since the explosion. Then another helicopter appeared, then another one, and many more. We assumed they were all heading for the site we had found in the bog. We thought about returning to the site, but it was dark [and] our compass was not working, so we decided to wait until morning.
"At around 10:00 am the next morning we arrived back at the bog, the exact same place as the day before. There was nothing to be found in the bog, no craft, no nothing. All we could see were people's footprints and what looked like marks left by the helicopters. Whether the craft sank into the bog or was taken away, I simply don't know.
"When our expedition came to an end and we returned to Moscow, we were invited, so-to-speak, to a certain institution (KGB regional department). Gathered in a large hall, a smiling, grey-haired man appeared, shook hands with everybody and displayed an interest in our survey work. The mood soon changed and the man instructed us all that, 'It was reported the events in the taiga were witnessed by you all... I would like everybody to remember that you saw nothing at all. Absolutely nothing.' We exchanged glances and he added, 'All of you, you understand there is such a thing as a state secret. Now each one of you will sign an undertaking that you will divulge nothing. You know the consequences in case you breach...' We signed. There was nothing else we could do. This is why we kept quiet. I don't even know now what it was or if I can tell you about it.
"By the way, you should know that members of the expedition are now all dead but a few. They were strong and healthy but now they are dead. In l992 there were only two of us left. Pavel lives in Leningrad; he was with the expedition. Today I don't know if he is alive or not. I was told by a number of doctors that those members of our expedition who had died suffered from some kind of radiation illness," Oleg Ivanovich concluded.
Another two witnesses to the event were found living in the village of Topolevka. Anna Egorovna (died aged 82 in l995) recounted the incident. She was not sure of the precise date but is sure it was the summer. Her grandfather, Philip Ivanovich had gone out into the taiga to hunt (he died before investigators could interview him). "I went to sleep early as I had to be up early the next morning. During the night I was awakened by a 'boom.' The house began to tremble and I got up, still half asleep trying to understand what was happening. Outside it was like daylight. I was afraid. Before I could go out onto the porch the earth began to shake. I have never been as frightened as this in my life. Looking outside I saw a fiery globe descending over the taiga. Bright, sun-like. The object glowed so much it irritated my eyes. The object hit something far off, the wind rose and then everything grew dark again. All that was left to see was a glow rising aloft in the distance.
"I did not sleep for the rest of the night. I was worried about my grandfather, but he returned safe and sound. He'd been drinking with his friends and had not seen or heard anything. I did hear rumours that people in the next village (Lukashin Yar) which is about 15 kilometres away, saw the fire in the taiga that night. Then special men from the KGB arrived and warned everyone to keep quiet. So that is the story."
The second witness from the village of Topolevka is Michael Kuzmich, a 79 year-old hunter. He told investigators: "I decided to do some fishing. There are plenty of rivers there to fish, so I found a spot, pitched a tent and got out my tackle and reels. It was getting late. I ate some soup and decided to treat myself to a self-rolled cigarette. I was sitting on the river bank just thinking and looking at the water, smoking my cigarette. I suddenly saw a fiery flare and a sound like 'Hu-u-u.' Good god I thought. The sky flared like it was on fire. While I was looking around I heard an explosion, and I was blown over by a huge blast of air. The fir tree tops were crackling with flames running across them. I thought it was the end, that the Chinese had set off a nuclear bomb. In a moment it seemed to go quiet again with only the taiga on fire. Lucky to be alive, I thought. I quickly grabbed my tent and fishing tackle and took off. A fire in the taiga can be a terrible thing. I was sure if the flames caught up with me I would be broiled. I just managed to escape with my life."
The last of the four witnesses was located later living in Moscow. His name is Sergey Petrovich M. a 52 year-old aviator. During the l960s, including l966, he served with the Soviet Air Force as a technician on aviation equipment at Kalpashevo aerodrome, about 240 kilometres north-west of Tomsk and 350 kilometres south-east of Topolevka. At Kalpashevo there was a special military helicopter squadron as well as a civilian air unit. Kalpashevo is also known as a military unit of space command measuring center (CMC). Housed here were Mi-4 Hound helicopters and a few heavy cargo Mi-6 Hook ones as well. Kalpashevo had also served as the test space centre for cosmonauts training in specific environmental conditions of the Russian northern region.
Sergey Petrovich M. stated: "I remember that night well. Our military unit was activated by a general alarm. Taking off in the helicopters, we flew for a long time over the taiga. We were in the backwoods. There had been a fire in the taiga the day before and even an earthquake. My colleagues were talking about the sky lighting up and a fiery globe descending. I did not see this myself as I was asleep after being on duty.
"At last our helicopter (Mi-4 Hound) began to descend. We jumped out and the man in charge drew us to attention. 'This is a military secret,' he told us, [saying] we would be to blame if anything went wrong. I remember we were in a glade and all around were burnt trees. Nearby was a large bog. We were led to the bog and were amazed to see a craft half buried in it. This thing in the bog looked like two pans together with coloured lights around the rim. My colleagues clarified it right away: flying saucer.
"Some more helicopters landed with more personnel and one cargo helicopter landed also. The command was given: the saucer had to be hooked on by steel ropes to the belly of the cargo helicopter. We began to construct a device to enable us to lift the saucer out of the bog.
"When I got nearer I could see that there was a hatch open. It looked dark inside and steam or smoke was coming out of the hatch. I could also see some king of flipper leaning out of the hatch. It looked long and tapered and was dark-brown in colour. The craft was big, some 8 to 10 meters in diameter. It was very streamlined and we had nothing to hook the ropes onto. We made a 'string-bag' type device in order for us to lift the object.
"There was also a scientist with us. He had come on the cargo helicopter. He kept touching and scraping the hull of the object and then shone his electric torch onto the flipper. He cautiously wrapped the flipper in polyethylene or something similar and handled it very carefully. We were cautioned once again to keep silent about this.
"The cargo helicopter rose up and hovered over the saucer and began to lift it. It moved only slowly and at one point I thought it was going to break loose from the ropes. All of a sudden it was out of the bog with slush flowing from it and the cargo helicopter took it away. We were splashed with mud from the bog and were covered from head to foot. The lights from the saucer, hanging beneath the helicopter, were visible in the sky for quite some time.
"There was talk in our unit that the saucer was transported to some secret military aerodrome and was under examination by scientists and the military. It was rumoured that they called it the 'Z Object'.. It was rumoured also that some bodies were recovered inside it, but this could simply be fairy-tales. I left the military a long time ago now and I have no idea what the object was," Sergey Petrovich concluded.
The Tunguska blast in l908 is still hotly debated even today. Some say it was an astronomical body of some kind, while others state that it was an artificial craft of extraterrestrial origin. The 'Z-Object' or the "Obsky meteorite" could rank as being even more mysterious than its l908 counterpart. What was it that shattered the peace and quiet of that June night in l966? Why was this strange object not destroyed on impact?
Officially, of course, it never happened at all.
Could the 'Z-Object' not have been extraterrestrial at all but rather a Soviet military satellite of some kind with a nuclear reactor on board? In l965 in Kecksburg, [Pennsylvania] USA, a similar incident took place. Some think this event could also have been a secret Soviet satellite. However, no Soviet satellites carry multi-coloured lights around their rim.
It would be only pure speculation to suggest where the 'Z-Object' eventually went for study. Even in today's modern Russia, it can still be dangerous to delve too deeply into such top secret matters. But the search for more information continues.
About the authors:
Philip Mantle is the former Director of Investigations for the British UFO Research Association, is the MUFON Representative for England, and is the co-author of BEYOND ROSWELL and WITHOUT CONSENT.
Anton A. Anfalov is the author of numerous published articles on UFOs. He is the head of the Southern Ukrainian UFO Centre and is the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Ufological Association.
Both authors are attempting to obtain more information on UFO activity of any kind in the former Soviet Union. If you can help with such information, please contact the authors, c/o:
1 Woodhall Drive, Batley
West Yorkshire, England, WF17 7SW
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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