El Indio 1950

In 1984, a mysterious document appeared that discloses a UFO crash retrieval near El Indio, Texas said to have occurred on December 6, 1950. This crash reportedly occurred along the Rio Grande River on the Mexican side, about halfway between El Indio, Texas and Guerrero, Coahuila, Mexico.

Eisenhower Briefing Document

The approximate location of the crash is shown on this Google Map:

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Rumors of the 1950 crash began when television documentary producer Jaime Shandera received from an anonymous source an undeveloped roll of film containing what appears to be a government document that mentions both the Roswell UFO crash of 1947 and a “second” crash near El Indio-Guerrero in 1950. Dated November 18, 1952, the Eisenhower Briefing Document claims to have been authored by Rear Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, the first CIA director, to brief incoming president Dwight Eisenhower on government-sponsored UFO investigations. The document lists the members of a top-secret government committee on UFOs code named Majestic-12 and discusses U.S. efforts to conceal the crashed alien spaceships retrieved from both Roswell and El Indio-Guerrero.

The briefing document begins with a summary of the first recorded UFO sighting of the aviation era, “On 24 June, 1947, a civilian pilot, flying over the Cascade Mountains in the State of Washington observed nine flying disc-shaped aircraft traveling in formation at a high rate of speed.” Many more sightings followed, the document states, and the U.S. military tried numerous different tactics for determining what these UFOs were and whether they posed a national threat. “In spite of these efforts, little of substance was learned about the objects until a local rancher reported that one had crashed in a remote region of New Mexico located approximately seventy-five miles northwest of Roswell Army Air Base (now Walker Field).”

In a staggering revelation, if true, the document describes the government’s role in covering up the Roswell crash: “On 07 July, 1947, a secret operation was begun to assure recovery of the wreckage of this object for scientific study. During the course of this operation, aerial reconnaissance discovered that four small human-like beings had apparently ejected from the craft at some point before it exploded. These had fallen to earth about two miles east of the wreckage site. All four were dead and badly decomposed due to action by predators and exposure to the elements during the approximately one week time period which had elapsed before their discovery. A special scientific team took charge of removing these bodies for study. The wreckage of the craft was also removed to several different locations. Civilian and military witnesses in the area were debriefed, and news reporters were given the effective cover story that the object had been a misguided weather research balloon.”

After explaining that the military was continuing its research into the remains of the craft and its occupants, the Eisenhower Briefing Document then suddenly mentions another crash similar in nature to Roswell: “On 06 December, 1950, a second object, probably of similar origin, impacted the earth at high speed in the El Indio – Guerrero area of the Texas – Mexican border after following a long trajectory through the atmosphere. By the time a search team arrived, what remained of the object had been almost totally incinerated. Such material as could be recovered was transported to the A.E.C. facility at Sandia, New Mexico, for study.”

Shortly after the Eisenhower Briefing Document came to light, a leading UFO researcher, Kevin D. Randle, in his 1991 book UFO Crash at Roswell, called the El Indio-Guerrero incident “the second legitimate crash” after Roswell. “Although not as well documented as the Roswell case, there is good reason to believe that something extraordinary happened there,” Randle wrote. In later versions of his book, Randle backed away somewhat from original statement about the case.

The location of the December 1950 El Indio-Guerrero crash is stated clearly in the Eisenhower Briefing Document. According to the document, the UFO “impacted the earth at high speed in the El Indio-Guerrero area of the Texas-Mexico border after following a long trajectory through the atmosphere.” If this event is true, it pre-dates the reported crash of a UFO near Del Rio, Texas, about 75 miles north-northeast of El Indio.


Shaded Area Shows Approximate Crash Site

El Indio is a tiny community along the Rio Grande River in Maverick County, which is the county immediately south of Val Verde County, of which Del Rio is the county seat. The 1950 population of El Indio was about 200 people. About 35 miles south of El Indio is Guerrero, a small Mexican town across the Rio Grande River.

From 1990 to 1994, UFO researchers Dennis Stacy and Tom Deuley carried out a mission to locate the exact crash site mentioned in the Eisenhower Briefing Document. Stacy later admitted that his main interest was to establish whether the document was authentic or a hoax. “Bogus or not, we felt the reference to a crash along the Rio Grande between Texas and Mexico was worth looking into,” Stacy said. If he could find evidence that an unidentified aircraft crashed near El Indio in 1950, the reference to this event in the EBD would be proved true. The results of Stacy’s research were published in “Crash at El Indio – Alleged UFO crash in Mexico,” a March 1995 article in Omni magazine.

In the account of his search, Stacy expressed great curiosity about the reported crash location – El Indio, which is so small that it does not even appear on most Texas highway maps. If the El Indio UFO crash report is a hoax, Stacy wondered, why in the world would anyone select this specific one-traffic-light town as the location of the incident? “To learn more,” Stacy concluded, “We would have to travel to El Indio and Guerrero in person.”

During Stacy’s first field investigation in March 1990, he wrote, “We spent the night in Eagle Pass, 18 miles upriver, and crossed at Piedras Negras the next morning. Like El Indio, Guerrero (population 2,000), some 35 miles back down the river and south of its sister city, had seen better days.”

After visiting with several of the locals, Stacy was told to speak to longtime resident Rosendo Flores, a retired schoolteacher known for his knowledge of local history. Stacy and Deuley listened intently as Flores told them a remarkable tale of a blazing fireball that fell out of the sky sometime around 1950.

“Straight of spine if slow in step, Senor Flores invited us into his home two blocks off Guerrero’s zocalo or main square, a welcome respite from the already beating sun. Underneath a full head of gray hair, sparkling dark eyes peered at us through thick glasses. Seated in a simple wooden chair in his living room, Flores answered our questions promptly and to the point. Not only did he remember such an incident, he had actually witnessed it. Shortly after siesta, he had been working on his family’s land north of town, toward the river and El Indio, when ‘a ball of fire fell from the sky,’ crashing on the adjoining ranch and igniting a grass fire. A day or two later, a military contingent arrived from Piedras Negras, blocked off the area, and ‘hauled something away by truck.’

“We asked him if American soldiers, norte-americanos, might have been involved, but Flores said he couldn’t be certain. What about the object or objects hauled away: Could it have been as mundane as airplane wreckage? ‘We never knew,’ Flores answered. ‘No one told us anything.’ When we asked how he could be sure of the date, Flores simply said that ‘it was common knowledge, everyone knew about it.’ The old gentleman even gave us the name of the landowners and the location where the ‘fireball’ had impacted — El Rancho del Griegos (the Ranch of the Greeks).”

Unfortunately, Stacy and Deuley were never able to find any witness to corroborate the testimony of the elderly Flores, who died several years later without disclosing any further details about his amazing story. Eventually, Stacy ran across a newspaper account of the crash of a small Civil Air Patrol spotter plane near Guerrero on January 16, 1944, and he became convinced that the airplane crash might have been the true source of Rosendo Flores’ “fireball” story.

It is important to note that Stacy and Deuley were looking for physical evidence of something that occurred forty years earlier in a very remote and sparsely populated area of northern Mexico. Second, the general area between El Indio and Guerrero on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River is a fairly large area, of which Stacy and Deuley carefully explored only a tiny portion. Third, according to the Eisenhower Briefing Document, the object impacted the earth at a very high rate of speed, almost totally incinerating the UFO. What little evidence could be recovered was carefully removed to the Sandia, New Mexico facility of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). It is also almost certain that the Blue Fly / Moon Dust crash retrieval team obliterated all remaining evidence of a crash in the area, as they had done in other cases. Given these facts, it seems highly unlikely that there would be any evidence of the event still remaining in 1990 when Stacy and Deuley first began looking.

The Rosendo Flores account of a mysterious fireball that fell out of the sky remains strangely compelling. The January 1944 crash of the Civil Air Patrol plane was reported by area newspapers, including the Laredo Times. Flores, a schoolteacher and local historian, seems likely to have heard of the plane crash. Yet, he emphatically told Stacy that the cause of the fireball he saw in 1950 had never been explained.

Thus, the question remains, “Did a UFO crash occur somewhere along the Rio Grande River between El Indio and Guerrero on December 6, 1950, as stated in the Eisenhower Briefing Document?” Stanton Friedman calls it one of “the most important classified government documents ever leaked to the public.” He strongly defends its authenticity, stating that the only plausible alternative to the document being genuine is that it was deliberately crafted by U.S. intelligence agents to mislead the public about the true facts of the cases mentioned therein, namely the Roswell and El Indio-Guerrero UFO crashes. In either case, Friedman believes that the document references real events.

While some UFO investigators still question the legitimacy of the Eisenhower Briefing Document, the most important piece of the El Indio-Guerrero UFO crash puzzle might well be another event that happened on December 6, 1950. Without question, that date is extremely important to UFO researchers, because history provides undeniable evidence of massive UFO activity over North America on that date. UFOs flying freely over United States airspace triggered the unprecedented nationwide military alert that caused many government officials, including the U.S. president, to believe that Armageddon had arrived.

The date of December 6, 1950, given in the Eisenhower Briefing Document for the El Indio-Guerrero crash, is extremely significant to UFO researchers. It was on this date that UFO sightings caused the U.S. military to go on a nationwide “high alert” status. The alert was issued at about 10:30 a.m. on December 6, and it was in effect for about an hour. The alert was triggered by the sighting of “unidentified aircraft” in the northeastern United States, but some UFO researchers feel that the alert was more of a response to a high number of flying disc sightings and reports coming in from all over the nation.

A declassified document found in the National Archives confirms that a nationwide air alert was called at 10:30 a.m. on December 6. In the document, Colonel Charles B. Winkle, Assistant Executive at Air Force Headquarters, writes to U.S. Secretary of Defense George Marshall, telling him: “The ConAC [Continental Air Command] Air Defense Controller notified the Headquarters USAF Command Post that at 1030 hours a number of unidentified aircraft were approaching the northeast area of the United States and that there was no reason to believe the aircraft were friendly.” Winkle goes on to say that President Harry Truman was notified and that jet aircraft were scrambled to intercept the UFOs.


President Truman (Photo Taken December 6, 1950

The memo further states that approximately 40 unknown aircraft were in flight, at 32,000 feet, approaching the northeastern U.S. After the radar contacts were confirmed, “emergency procedure went into effect immediately” and “ConAC took immediate action to dispatch interceptors on the initial contact.” The memo concludes by saying that by 11:04 a.m., the “original track had faded out and it appeared that the flight as originally identified is a friendly flight.”

President Truman himself mentions the episode in his book, Memoirs of Harry S. Truman: Years of Trial and Hope, 1946-1952. In the book, which was published in 1979, Truman states, “Shortly before we went into the morning meeting, Under Secretary [Robert A.] Lovett called from the Pentagon, reporting that the radar screens of some air defense installations in the far north were reporting large formations of unidentified planes approaching. Fighter planes were sent up to reconnoiter and alerts were flashed to air centers in New England and beyond. But about an hour later … Lovett informed me that the report had been in error. Some unusual disturbance in the Arctic atmosphere had thrown the radar off.”

Robert A. Lovett, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, 1950

Robert A. Lovett, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, 1950

President Truman also stated that he wrote in his diary, “It looks like World War III is here. I hope not – but we must meet whatever comes – and we will.”

The U.S. Secretary of State in 1950, Dean Acheson, also had a story to tell about the uncertainty and panic experienced by U.S. officials on December 6, 1950. In his book Present at Creation, Acheson describes what happened that day: “On the morning of December 6, soon after my arrival at the [State] Department, Deputy Secretary of Defense Lovett telephoned a report and an instruction from the President. Our early warning radar system in Canada had picked up formations of unidentified flying objects, presumably aircraft, heading southeast on a course that would bring them over Washington in two or three hours. All interception and defense forces were alerted.”

In The Wise Men, a 1986 book about the Cold War, historians Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas state that Acheson, was informed on December 6 that “a national emergency was about to be declared.” The reason for the emergency as stated to Acheson was that “there is flying over Alaska at the present moment a formation of Russian planes heading southeast.”

According to both accounts, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert A. Lovett later told Acheson that the incoming UFOs had probably just been geese. The geese theory that Lovett gave Acheson differed from the “atmospheric disturbance” theory he gave Truman. Also, Lovett told Acheson the UFOs were inbound over Alaska, but he told Truman that they were inbound over Maine.


L to R: Dean Acheson, President Truman, and George Marshall on 12-26-50

Yet another theory was apparently fed to the press, as several news sources carried stories with a totally different explanation for the mysterious air alert. According to the press, the Air Force claimed the unidentified aircraft that triggered the alarm turned out to be nothing more than a single American plane that was approaching Northern Maine on a return flight from Labrador.

The December 7, 1950 edition of The Washington Post reported, “The District [of Columbia] yesterday was involved in a mysterious air raid ‘alert’ although no public warning was sounded. It began, according to the Air Force, when American radar stations ‘in the vicinity of the Maine-Canadian border spotted an unidentified aircraft approaching the United States. Following standard procedure, interceptor planes were dispatched to make visual identification.’ The plane turned out to be an American craft returning from Labrador.”


North Adams, Mass. Newspaper Dec 7 1950

What is certain about December 6, 1950 is that reports of aerial phenomena abounded, U.S. military and political leaders were on high alert, and a number of very creative excuses were later given in an attempt to explain away what happened.

In the midst of this intense UFO activity, Federal Bureau of Investigation chief J. Edgar Hoover received an eye-opening teletype message from a field agent titled “Urgent. December 8. RE: Flying Saucers,” which reported the following:

“This office very confidentially advised by Army Intelligence, Richmond, that they have been put on immediate high alert for any data whatsoever concerning flying saucers. CIC here states background of instructions not available from Air Force Intelligence, who are not aware of reason for alert locally, but any information whatsoever must be telephoned by them immediately to Air Force Intelligence. CIC advises data strictly confidential and should not be disseminated.”

The field agent, identified only as “Auerbach,” sent the message via urgent teletype from the FBI office in Richmond, Virginia to the bureau’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Sounding very much like a desperate plea, the teletype requests immediate reporting of “any data whatsoever concerning flying saucers.” Many researchers who have looked into the events triggering this memo feel that the UFO incident near El Indio-Guerrero, Texas, may well have been the single most important factor leading to this appeal for assistance.

The El Indio-Guerrero incident occurred during the general period of December 5-7, 1950, but researchers over the years have debated the exact date of the crash of the UFO. The FBI teletype, the recollections of Truman and Acheson, and several other reliable sources help to more accurately pinpoint the date and time of the saucer crash.

FBI Memo

FBI Memo of 12-8-50 (FBI Public Archives)

Todd Zechel, who investigated the incident at length in the 1970s, concluded that the UFO crashed generally in the area near El Indio-Guerrero on December 5, a recovery of the crashed disc by the military occurred on December 6, and a general alert was issued to Army counterintelligence on December 7. In this scenario, the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned about the crash on December 8, which is when the FBI teletype was sent.

Zechel later said that in 1975 he obtained a declassified Air Force document that stated that the military recovered a “foreign object” on December 6 or 7 of 1950 and then transported it to Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. He said the document suggested that the nationwide high alert status resulted because of the nature of the recovery. The document did not reveal exactly what had been recovered.

While some people still wonder if the Eisenhower Briefing Document is genuine, there remain other fully verified sources that refer to strange events occurring on or around December 6, 1950. Among these are the Winkle memo, the Truman memoirs, the Washington Post report, and the recollections of former Secretary of State Dean Acheson. These sources all confirm that something very strange occurred in the first week of December 1950 and that it involved reported sightings of unidentified flying objects, which triggered a national panic among military and political authorities.

The Air Force continued its efforts to explain away the UFO sightings with a series of conflicting cover stories. Meanwhile, something not so easily explained away had crash-landed in Mexico across the Rio Grande River near El Indio, Texas, and the U.S. intelligence services had a chore on their hands to get the crash site under containment as quickly as possible.

In the El Indio-Guerrero crash retrieval, the Eisenhower Briefing Document, plainly states where the crash debris was taken: “Such material as could be recovered was transported to the A.E.C. facility at Sandia, New Mexico, for study.” The report makes clear that a team of military personnel moved into the crash site, packaged the debris for transport, and then moved everything out as quickly and efficiently as possible.


U.S. Army Helicopter, Circa 1950 (U.S. Army Photo)

One location that has been mentioned over the years as a possible destination for the 1950 El Indio-Guerrero artifacts was the Atomic Energy Commission’s laboratory at Sandia, New Mexico. Certainly, if materials of extraterrestrial origin were recovered, few better facilities were available for conducting research on it than Sandia. One of the United States’ most advanced research facilities at the time, the Sandia Laboratory was located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sandia Lab had the added advantage of being situated on one of the most secure military compounds in the United States, Kirtland Air Force Base.


Sandia Laboratory in New Mexico, 1949 Photo

In 1950, Sandia Laboratory was a primary site for the design and engineering of nuclear weapons for the United States Military. The University of California had managed the facility until 1949, when it suddenly developed cold feet about being involved in creating nukes for military use. In a stunning triumph of military and industrial cooperation, the Atomic Energy Commission turned to a private corporation to run the facility. The story is told in the corporate history section of Sandia’s Web site: “On May 13, 1949, President Harry Truman asked AT&T to accept managerial responsibility of Sandia. It was agreed that AT&T’s manufacturing arm, Western Electric, would accept the management role on a no-profit, no-fee basis. Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Electric, was formed to manage the lab. On November 1, 1949 the official change occurred.”

The Sandia Lab sat on the property of Kirtland Air Force Base, which itself has a long history of involvement in UFO controversies in the United States. UFO researchers over the years have claimed on more than one occasion that Kirtland AFB is used both to house recovered alien spacecraft and to reverse-engineer them.

Kirtland’s history with UFOs dates back to the mass flying saucer sightings of the 1940s. In a recently declassified memo from January 31, 1949, the base commander at Kirtland explains the extent of the UFO phenomenon: “Estimate at least 100 total sightings. AEC, AFSWP, 4th Army, local commanders perturbed by implications of phenomena.”


1949 Kirtland Memo Reporting Numerous UFO Sightings (FBI Document Archives)

Was the debris from the December 1950 UFO crash near El Indio, Texas, was taken to Albuquerque? The choice of the Sandia Lab at Kirtland Air Force Base was certainly logical. In addition to already having an involvement in UFO investigations, the lab was one of the country’s foremost military research facilities, and it was on one of the most secure military bases in America.

Another important question arises regarding the reported UFO crash retrievals of the forties and fifties: did the U.S. military have specialized teams whose primary purpose was to retrieve crashed UFOs and cover up the evidence? In recent years, several former military officers have stepped forward to claim that they were part of these elite UFO crash retrieval teams.

Stanton FriedmanAlthough many people dispute the authenticity of the Eisenhower Briefing Document, it has its supporters as well – foremost of which is nuclear physicist Stanton T. Friedman, who is possibly the world’s most famous advocate of the theory that some UFOs are extraterrestrial spacecraft. Friedman is the author of the best-selling book Top Secret / Majic, in which he argues that the Eisenhower Briefing Document is authentic and that it does provide evidence that the U.S. government is covering up the visitation of extraterrestrial beings to our planet since the 1940s.

In an added twist to the story, there was supposedly an eyewitness to the December 1950 crash of a UFO in the same general area as the El Indio report. According to the book Searching for UFOs by Dillon H. Richards and Janet I. Stirling, “In December 1950, a woman visiting a dude ranch in Texas wrote to her husband about a most unusual incident. She and the other guests and ranch workers had observed what seemed to be an airplane in distress flying overhead. They thought it might have come down over the Mexican-American border. The next day several of the ranch cowboys rode out to see if they could find something. They found wreckage, but it didn’t look like any airplane they’d ever seen. There were bodies strewn about, badly burned. The cowboys said it looked as though the craft had been piloted by children.”

Unfortunately, neither the exact location of the “dude ranch” nor the names of any of the eyewitnesses are known.

Article Copyright 2014 by Noe Torres.