On the sunny July morning in 1965 that John Hembling, geologist and exploration manager for a mining company, and a companion geologist stepped from a helicopter atop a mountain ridge in north-central British Columbia they expected it would be another routine day of reconnaissance and survey.
For several weeks they had been studying this mineral-rich terrain about 70 miles north of-Hazelton. Working above the timberline they had a sweeping view of the country’s rocky peaks, some of which already bore the mark of mining development. Soon they would submit their report on the feasibility of further development.
But on this particular day they were to have the unexpected opportunity of making a study of a much different sort. «It was about 10 o’clock and we had just set up our equipment after the helicopter left,» Hembllng told us, «when we saw a silvery object, shining in the sun, appear over a small ridge below us. It had a flattened-out look and our first reaction was that it was some kind of delta-wing aircraft. We soon realized it was not.»
Facing west away from the sun, with the object below them about half a mile away, they had a clear view of what was happening.
«The object was about 50 ft. in diameter,» he said. «On top of its dome there was a little knob, and around the base of the dome there were circular markings. They might have been some kind of riveting, or even windows. They were a bit too small to tell.
«Below these, on the face of the disc itself, there were larger rectangular markings which could have been glass or metallic. Our impression was that they were windows. As far as we could see, there were three of them.»
As the two men watched in astonishment, the object moved slowly across the ridge until it was above a small glacial lake, barely more than a pond. Hovering there an instant, it then descended to less than 50ft. above the water. Again it hovered and, to the men’s further amazement, lowered a pipe-like instrument from its underside into the water. «At first we thought it was something like a rope-ladder,» Hembling said, «but it didn’t just drop down. It came out smoothly and steadily as if under mechanical control.»
During this procedure the observers were conscious of a humming sound from the object «like a quiet electric motor.» With its appendage in the lake, the disc then rotated slowly like a water-borne top until its «windows» faced the two men. “We had a distinct feeling It knew we were there,» Hembling said.
After remaining in that position for about eight minutes—as the men judged it—the object withdrew its «pipe» as carefully as it had lowered it.
«It climbed slowly, then all of a sudden it was off,» Hembling said. «It shot over the ridge, made a sharp turn without skidding and was out of sight in about 20 seconds. We figured it had gone 20 or 25 miles by the time it disappeared.» That would give it a speed of at least 3,600 m.p.h.
So extraordinary was their experience that the two men discussed it for the rest of the day, comparing observations and impressions. They also wondered how the pictures would turn out, for a meaningful part of the whole incident was that Hembiing’s companion carried a camera and took numerous shots of the sighting. But, for Hembling at least, that part of the incident was to lead to disappointment.
«I never heard from him again,» he said of his companion. «He returned to the States before he had a chance to get the pictures developed, and that was the end of it. I wrote him twice asking about the pictures but he didn’t reply. I don’t know what happened.»
Somewhere, as a result, there is a UFO witness who may have some of the most remarkable camera shots of this phenomenon ever recorded. Perhaps, as had happened before, he submitted them for official scrutiny and, after being bound to silence, failed to have them returned.