January 1958, as part of the International Geophysical Year, the training
ship “Almirante Saldhana” , commanded by Captain Carlos Alberto Bacellar,
was surveying the waters around Trinidade, a barren, rocky island in the
Southern Atlantic, some 750 miles north-east of Rio de Janeiro. A civilian
technical team was on board, including Almiro Barauna, a photographer.
after 12 noon, as the ship was preparing to get under way, two of the
technical team noticed a bright light in the sky, heading for Trinidade
civilians shouted to Barauna to photograph the object and within twenty
seconds he took six photographs. The UFO approached the island, flew
behind Mount Desegado, re-appeared and then flew away.
Virtually all of the 48 crew members watched the object whilst on deck and
Captain Bacellar, who had been below deck during the incident, insisted
that the photographs were developed immediately. He had an improvised dark
room set up and took every precaution to ensure that Barauna did not
tamper with the film. Of the six snaps, two missed the UFO completely.
21st February 1958, the photographs were published in the
Brazilian press and on 25th February United Press International
reported that the Brazilian Navy had analysed them and that Brazil’s
president, Juscelino Kubitschek, had been assured that they were genuine.
The President vouched for the authenticity of the photographs. However,
local reports quoted a Navy spokesman as saying:
“No officer or sailor from the NE Almirante Saldhana witnessed
investigations did, in fact, reveal that the Navy had no connection with
the event and despite the fact that Barauna had previously been accused of
fakery, digital analysis of the photographs determined that they were
the publication of the Trinidade Island photographs there has been much
debating regarding the merits and demerits of the case.
sceptic Steuart Campbell declared the photographs as genuine but that they
were in fact snaps of a mirage of the planet Jupiter and wind and
temperature inversions. However, Jupiter is not bright enough to be seen
in daylight and it was too high above the horizon anyway to create a
Trindade Island Case"
"The crew of the Almirante
Saldanha ship saw, on January 16, 1958, a flying saucer over the Trindade
Island that was photographed by Almiro Barauna, 43 years, who was aboard
to photograph underwater scenes. The attention of Barauna was called by an
uproar in the deck of the boat, while several sailors looked at the sky.
He got his camera and began to photograph. He stated having seen a saucer
doing maneuvers over the boat, approximately at noon, and that the speed
of the object was very high. He took six pictures. Both him and the others
that saw the object could not notice any sound. The film was developed on
board and the authorities released the negatives that presented only a
small dark point. Later, in his house, Barauna continued [sic] to enlarge
the film and managed to make the saucer appear in the picture. An
investigation was started for the verification of a possible montage and
in February the Navy confirmed the existence of a strange object in the
pictures taken on the Trindade Island. The fact made all first pages of
the newspapers of Brazil and of the world. But, at the time, Barauna
suffered from all types of attempts of demoralization of part of the
press, even of people that said that were his friends, to invalidate his
deed. All of this happened 21 years ago [this article was published in
Today, Barauna lives in
company of his wife, still in Niteroi, in a well decorated apartment of
Icaraí, surrounded by his 136 cameras, real rarities that compose his
small domestic museum. It was there that we went to hear him. Almiro
Barauna is a very well known photographer in Niteroi. He actively
participated on the Rio press, for his ability to put the camera to the
service of the fact, in sensationalist photos [sic]. In 1954, in the
magazine "Mundo Ilustrado", he presented photos with a text of Vinícius
Lima entitled "A Flying saucer was at My House. . . " where, in a curious
and critical journalistic article, he taught "how to make a Martian
aircraft" with two chips of the then Carioca Fleet, joined on their flat
faces, in "photographic tricks" that could serve as "exploration and fun".
This he did in face of his disbelief in UFOs, to ridicule the article
published by Joao Martins and Ed Keffel, that photographed in May of 1952
an "Unidentified Aerial Object" in Barra da Tijuca, whose report had been
published in the magazine "O Cruzeiro" of the time.
Barauna didn't know that he
would later be victim of his own incredulity. This because, having taught
before "how to manufacture a flying saucer in any scenery", he could never
think that four years later he would be witness of a real UFO sighting,
and that he would photograph it in four poses over the
Trindade Island. Then his
faith started to exist. But all the arguments that he used against Joao
Martins' article were used back against him. But the Navy authenticated
the pictures, after exhausting exams in laboratory, concluding in a secret
report that the pictures were authentic. This Navy report was published in
a report by Jorge C. Pineda, in October of 1971, in an Argentinean
magazine, though secret and never having been published in
Almiro Barauna offered us a
complete "dossier" on the case of the Trindade Island. He has everything
organized in albums, clippings of Brazilian and foreign newspapers;
letters from all parts of the world, Italy, Australia, Japan, France,
Belgium, Argentina, Germany, Canada, United States, for the most part
requesting the authentic
photos for illustration of reports, magazines, specialized books on UFOs,
that already exist around the Earth. He was interviewed by all of the
UFOs/OVNIs societies of the world, receiving the visits of famous
specialists. He started to tell us:
"The year of 1958 was the
'International Geophysical Year'. The Navy used to invite teams that
embarked at the old school ship 'Almirante Saldanha', to the scientists'
service. On that day, we were on board with the team of the Icarai
Underwater Hunt Club, composed of five people: Amilar V. Filho that
directed the group. Jose Teobaldo Viegas, retired Brazilian Air Force
captain, industrial and director of Niteroi Aero-club; Mauro Andrade,
employee of the Bank of London; Aloisio and me, that participated in the
group as specialist in underwater pictures.
After two days at the island,
we were on board, on January 16, around twelve o'clock. I was feeling sick
with the sway of the ship, when I heard the sailors' confusion, shouting:
'look at the saucer!'. Viegas came running to call me, telling me to pick
my camera to photograph a flying saucer over the ship. I caught the
Roleflex [sic] close to me (a pity that the Leica with a telephoto lens
was far away, in the cabin), because I was going to photograph the
hoisting of a launch, from the sea to the ship. Vieira Filho also waived
to me, saying: 'Bring the camera, bring the camera!' All showed [pointed
to] the sky, where a bright object approached the island."
It was 12 hours and twenty
minutes. It came from open sea and drove itself to the tip of the Galo
Crest. When it was going to pass by the Desejo [sic, actually Desejado], I
took two more photos. The object shot behind the mountain, during some
seconds and reappeared, going again to the sea. I went shooting the
obturator. I took six pictures, but only got to use four, because in two I
was pushed and focused only the water.
The presence of the saucer
caused chills in all of the [people] present, 48 people in all who saw it
and there was even an official that became truly terrified. In fact, it
was to be seen the expression of dread in the crew, pointing weapons to
We questioned Barauna: "But I
remember, at that time there were a lot of criticisms from the part of the
press; how do you explain that?" Barauna answered:
"Yes. I paid for my previous
jokes. But the fact that part of the press tried to ridicule me was not
exactly because it didn't believe on me, but because I gave an exclusivity
contract on the pictures and interviews for the Diarios Associados [of
then Brazilian media mogul Assis Chateaubriand]. On the margin
of the events, they had to create their news, they couldn't be out!
It just happens that I made
four copies that were taken to the then President Juscelino [Kubitschek]
and, there in the palace [that at the time was in Rio de Janeiro, then
Brazilian capital], a journalist of the "Correio da Manha" [also of Rio]
got the pictures and was going to "scoop" our work on the following day.
Knowing about that, I sought Joao Martins, in "O Cruzeiro". I was a
professional and wanted to take advantage of my work. Because of that, I
sold the pictures to the "Diarios Associados", and "O Jornal" published
them the following day, at the same time with the "Correio da Manha".
Later the Agencia Meridional [part of Diarios Associados] distributed them
to the whole world, and they were published in all newspapers, "Life",
"Time", even in Russia. But the "Diario de Noticias" and the "Tribuna da
Imprensa", that didn't have access to the material, were against me. The
material was exclusive of a network, and I was prevented from speaking to
the newspapers. Therefore, discovering an article that I illustrated in
the "Mundo Ilustrado", entitled "A Flying saucer was at my House...",
where I showed how you could superpose on the [photographic] plate two
chips of the old Carioca Fleet, they reproduced phases of the sequence
made by joke. It is the old saying: "He who hurts with iron, with the iron
will be hurt..." [Quem com ferro fere, com ferro sera ferido]. Then, they
tried my demoralization. They made fun with the saucer, set up pictures in
the Jockey Club, on Barra and made a lot of fun of me..."
The Navy Ministry, through the
Command of Naval Operations, made a secret report, examining the case. The
then representative Sergio Magalhaes asked for information in the House
[of representatives]. They say that he, on the occasion, showed only the
cover of the Secret Report of the Navy on the Trindade Island, saying that
he could not show the rest.
However, an Argentinean
magazine published that Report, I don't know how, in October 1971, in an
article signed by Jorge O. Pineda, that explains:
"The sighting of an
Unidentified Flying Object on 'Almirante Saldanha', training ship of the
Brazilian armada, on January 16, 1958, constitutes an unique case while
documentation that was able to
take the label of 'Confidential' and 'Top Secret' [Maximo Secreto]. Its
publicizing is due to a retired official of the war navy of Brazil, whose
name cannot be revealed, for obvious reasons. The way by which it was
obtained, cannot be revealed either".
We examined the referred
document in Spanish, by which official correspondences are exchanged
between the Rear Admiral Luiz Felipe da Luz and the Admiral Antonio Maria
de Carvalho, highlighting the importance of the event. There are also
requests of information signed by M. Sunderland, Naval Attache from the
On the report, there are
passages like this:
"The alarm of UFO was given by
the crew's members in the prow and stern of the ship"
"All recognized that the
object that appeared in the photos was identical to the one they had
sighted on the air"
"The photos that were taken in
no more than thirty seconds"
"A strong emotional
disturbance was observed in all of the people that sighted the object,
including the photographer, civilians and the members of ship's crew"
"The statements of the people
that sighted the object: They saw the photos and declared that they had
seen exactly what appears in the pictures."
"The technician of DHN [Hydrography
and Navigation Administration] of the Armada after analyzing the
negatives, affirms that they are authentic."
"The technicians of the
Aerophotogrametric Service of Cruzeiro do Sul, just after microscopical
exams for verification of brightness and outline details, affirmed: 'There
was not any sign of montage'".
The conclusions signed by the
Captain of Corvette Jose Geraldo Brandao, of the Navy Intelligence Service
are the following ones:
"Considering the presentation
of the facts and the summary analysis accomplished, informed in the
previous item, it can be concluded:
a) That there is a certain
number of witnesses who claim to have seen UFOs over the Trindade Island.
These witnesses have different classifications and the observations were
made in different days;
b) That most of the reports
presented are insufficient, above all due to the lack of technical fitness
of a lot of the observers and the brief duration of the observed
phenomena, so that no conclusion can be reached on what they informed
sighting Unidentified Flying Objects;
c) That the most important and
valuable proof presented, the photographic, somehow loses its convincing
quality due to the impossibility of completely dismissing a previous
d) That the emotional reaction
of the people that informed the sighting of UFOs is very strong and easily
e) That, finally, the
existence of personal reports and of photographic evidence, of certain
value considering the circumstances involved, allows the admission that
there are indications of the existence of UFOs;
f) The last conclusion
mentioned allows me to suggest to your Excellency that this High Command
must take into consideration all the information obtained on the present
subject, aiming to reach more conclusions above all doubt"