On April 11, 1980 at 7:15 am…The squad commander… ordered me to take off … to intercept the balloon before it got any closer to our base… Zeroing in on the balloon… I shot a burst of sixty-four 30mm shells, which created a cone-shaped ‘wall of fire’ that would normally obliterate anything in its path… but nothing happened. Then suddenly the object began to ascend very rapidly and head away from the base… I initiated a chase… at a speed of 600 mph and the ‘balloon’ remained about 1,600 feet in front of me… [up to] 36,000 feet. It came to a sudden stop and forced me to veer to the side… It eluded my attack three times, each time at the very last moment. We reached an altitude of 63,000 feet and suddenly the thing stopped completely and remained stationary… I got as close as about 300 feet from it. I was startled to see that the ‘balloon’ was not a balloon at all. It was an object that measured about 35 feet in diameter… It lacked all the typical components of aircraft. It had no wings, propulsion jets, exhausts, windows, antennae, and so forth. It had no visible propulsion system. At that moment, I realized this was not a spying device but a UFO, something totally unknown… Suddenly, I was afraid.

— Oscar Santa Maria Huertas
Comandante, Peruvian Air Force
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