UFO’s are no strangers to Newfoundland and Labrador. As a matter of fact, the UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) are quite frequent CFAs (Come from Aways). As early as the 1940’s and 50’s, flying saucers were reportedly seen by military officers over Goose Bay Air Force Base in Labrador.
In 2010, I was the media spokesperson for UFOs over Harbour Mille, when a local resident took pictures showing a thin object shooting into the air, with a tail of fire and smoke. My media line was: The RCMP has concluded it’s an unexplained sighting.
The UFOs seem to have taken a liking to RCMP members over the years and have tried to contact them, or maybe even abduct them, several times!
The most famous case was in Clarenville, Newfoundland in 1978. RCMP Constable Jim Blackwood was one of a dozen locals who witnessed a cigar-shaped aircraft hovering over the water between Clarenville and Random Island. It was first reported by locals and when Blackwood arrived in a patrol car, the UFO was still there and very visible. Cst. Blackwood turned on the police lights on top of the cruiser and the UFO mimicked the flashing lights. Blackwood did numerous media interviews after the sighting with the blessing of his supervisors. He claimed the UFO stayed in the area for about an hour and a half then it took off like a shooting star and disappeared into the sky.
Eight years before Cst. Blackwood’s experience, another unpublished and lesser known incident took place. This one went unreported until now!
In 1970, two more RCMP officers had an encounter of the UFO kind.
Constables Bob MacKinnon and Greg Savicky were on patrol in the Torbay- Logy Bay – Middle Cove – Outer Cove areas in the Spring of 1970. MacKinnon was twenty-five-years-old at the time with five years service and, twenty-year-old Savicky was the junior officer with just two years service.
It was around two a.m. and they had just finished at an incident in Torbay. After leaving, they decided to pull the police car over into a layover parking area just before Middle Cove Beach to write up some notes regarding the incident while it was still fresh in their minds.
While the two sat scribbling in their notebooks a very bright white light that lit up the whole sky came over the car at not more than 20 feet.
(In picture: Constable Greg Savicky)
“We were sitting in the patrol car writing up reports when something caught my eye,” remembers retired Staff Sergeant Bob MacKinnon. “I looked up and asked myself, ‘What is that?’ and then I didn’t say anything for a couple of minutes because I wanted to see if Greg could see it.”
MacKinnon continued, “After a few minutes, Greg asked, ‘Do you see what I see?’”
“Yes, I do,” answered MacKinnon.
“We had no idea what it was, so for fun we put on the red light and the bright white light changed to red,” Retired Corporal Savicky recalled. In the 1970s, police cars had the old fashioned ‘cherry on top’ light. “We flashed our headlights at it, and it flashed its light back to us.”
Both Savicky and MacKinnon remember being calm and mesmerized by the light but not afraid in any way. “We didn’t see anything that was threatening to us,” admits MacKinnon
MacKinnon remembers this encounter with details. “We sat there and watched this thing hover over the water. It would go up and come back down. At times it was, I would say a couple of hundred feet off the water and it was big. Probably as big as an old 737.”
(In Picture: S/Sgt. Bob MacKinnon)
“It hovered around us for about 15 – 20 minutes.” Savicky has also never forgotten the incident. “We put the red light on, and it turned red, then it turned blue. We put the siren on, and it would make the sound of the siren back to us. We put the whopper on, and it would make the sound of the whopper. Then I’d blow the horn and it would make the sound of the horn. Whatever sound we made, it made it back to us.”
“It was dense, you couldn’t see through it,” retains MacKinnon. “At times a beacon of light came out of it and went right down to the water.”
Both men recall the UFO being over the car, flying back up in the sky, then coming back down and moving left to right and an incredible speed.
“We contacted the radio room at St. John’s HQ and asked that they contact the airport to see if anything showed up on radar, and of course nothing did,” Savicky could remember the incident like it happened yesterday. “We continued to play with the UFO, I will call it, until as fast it appeared it disappeared again straight up into the night.”
“It’s didn’t look like a plane or helicopter.” MacKinnon added. “The air traffic tower confirmed there were no aircraft or helicopters in the area. They checked their screens and there was nothing.”
“To this day, both Bob and I still have no idea what we encountered, but it was definitely some kind of UFO,” Savicky’s memory on this has never faded.
“There were maybe eight or ten RCMP members in the Harbour Grace Detachment who saw the same thing.” MacKinnon confirms. “So, it wasn’t just us.”
Savicky and MacKinnon followed up with the right channels. “We put a report in on it but never heard anything back on it,” Savicky says. “No body every asked us about it. No body ever came to us.”
“I told Greg if we report this, they’re going to send us to the funny farm,” MacKinnon Laughs.
Both men went on to have respected careers in the RCMP.
Bob MacKinnon retired as a Staff Sergeant in 2003 after serving an honourable thirty-eight years. During his career he survived a plane crash, a horrific car crash and being scalped on a skidoo. All while on duty. He was known for his incredible sense of humour, for being strong as an ox and for being a survivor.
Greg Savicky retired from the RCMP as a Corporal in 1984. He then joined the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, from where he retired in 2004 with a combined service of thirty-seven years service. For the last seven years of his career, he accepted the director’s position of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service for Newfoundland and Labrador.
They spoke of the UFO encounter several times over their careers but admits there have been no visits from alien creatures or visits from government officials in black suits since then. Neither officer says the UFO encounter affected them or their careers in any way.
“I’ll never forget it though,” admits Bob MacKinnon.
“I’ll swear to it to this day,” adds Greg Savicky.
This story is an excerpt from: In Search of Adventure - 70 Years of the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador. You can buy the book here.