Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

UFO photos: Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Location: Puerto Maldonado, Peru
Date: July 19th, 1952 (?)


Domingo Troncoso, customs officer in Puerto Maldonado, in the border of Peru and Bolivia, noticed a big airship shaped object flying low and horizontally in the afternoon, going from right to left. The object left a dense smoke trail, vapor or some similar thick and white substance. It was expelled from the rear end of the object while it flew. That the object was a real and structured machine can be seen by its reflection on the waters of the Madre de Dios river down below. Mr. Troncoso managed to get a camera and could take one good shot of the cigar-shaped object.

Comment: That’s a very curious image, but unfortunately there’s not much coherent information about it. For instance, according to FOTOCAT, it was actually taken on July 19, 1951 — not 1952 — and was published on a newspaper on July 6, 1952.

The description curiously makes reference to an outdated element of ufology, very fashionable on the 1950s: the “angel hair”. The thick, white and fibrous substance on the trail left by the object is clearly a reference to “angel hair”, a thing one seldom see on UFO cases nowadays.

Assuming the object was real, it could have been the reentry of some object in the atmosphere. Given the date, 1951 or 1952, it very probably wasn’t a man-made object. But it could have been a meteor.

1972 meteor reentry video

However the Peruvian photo suggests an almost perfect horizontal path, and then there is the cigar-shaped object in front of the trail. This is not just the photograph of a meteor going through our atmosphere.

The image could have been a mixture of a real and unusual phenomenon (such as a meteor) and some degree of photo retouching (such as adding a cigar-shaped object). Following this suggestion, it’s also possible the real phenomenon could have been something more mundane like a roll cloud.


A roll cloud is a particular kind of cloud formed by meteorological processes related to storms. As one can see on the image above, it’s perfectly horizontal. Add a cigar-shaped object in front of it, and you may get something very close to the Puerto Maldonado UFO photo.

Of course, another possibility is that the UFO and the trail are both hoaxed. Or that they are both real. The case remains unsolved, but this is not extraordinary as there doesn’t seem to be any in depth analysis of the photograph to this date. 

1952, Peru: Customs Inspector films large UFO
Roll Clouds
Roll Clouds

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Posted in UFO photos,UFOs | 1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. sentry479 August 11th, 2012 10:35 am

    Please check out Professor Michael Swords article on this photo

    There is much confusion over this photograph. I have sen a claim by Barry Greenwood that it appeared in a Lima Peru newspaper in August 15, 1951. Has anyone traced the original newspaper article?

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