Yeah...you read the title correctly. There is evidence that a UFO crashed in the desert surrounding Las Vegas, Nevada on August 18, 1962...specifically, near Nellis AFB. Thought to be nothing more than rumor, reports and statements from eyewitnesses slowly started to emerge. Eventually, researchers started digging for more information.
The object was first spotted over Oneida, New York and was heading in a westerly direction. There were also reports of the object in Kansas, Colorado and Eureka, Utah. The object was the seen in the town of Reno, Nevada and was seen to 'turn' in a southern direction where it disappeared over the Nellis Air Force Base. The object was also tracked at several radar sights.
The object was reported by over a thousand people, most of whom, assumed that the object was a meteorite. Various newspapers covered the story the following morning although most of them concluded also that it must of been just a very spectacular meteorite.
However, Air Defense Command, after watching the object for several hours scrambled several fighters. This was a highly unusual act since meteorites never cause such a response.
It was claimed the object came down near Eureka, and at the same time the town experienced a total blackout. However, the object was then seen to take off again, and as it did the power came back.
The object was also seen at various times by several commercial airline pilots who reported that the object was below them, again unusual for a meteorite.
The official Air Force explanation was that the object witnessed was a meteor. However, this does not explain why flights were scrambled, or why the object changed course and later appeared to land and then take off again.
A report issued in June 2010 stated:
The Air Defense Command was alerted after the object was tracked by NORAD and ground witnesses as it traveled for 32-minutes from Oneida, New York across the midwest, through Kansas & Colorado, Utah, and the disappeared from Nellis AFB radar at 10,000 feet. Jets had been scrambled from two locations. Power outages were reported and the object made a turn toward the east and landed. There is quite a bit of information from numerous sources concerning this major incident, including Project Blue Book documents, and now possible confirmation by a radar man at ATIC. The case is also NOT explained in a BB monthly sighting listing for April 1962. It is very interesting that every one of these states except Utah, has or was in the process of obtaining ICBM Bases: New York, Plattsburg AFB; Kansas, Forbes AFB, McConnell AFB; Utah, Minuteman production at Air Force Plant 77 at Hill AFB; Idaho, Mountain Home AFB; Montana, Malmstrom AFB; New Mexico, Walker AFB; Wyoming, F. E. Warren AFB; Arizona, Davis Monthan AFB; California, Beale AFB.
Like many of the reports of UFO crashes, the Las Vegas case was overlooked by most of the UFO research community. Frank Edwards, who mentioned the Roswell case in a single paragraph in his 1966 book UFOs and Flying Saucers: Serious Business wrote more about the crash near Las Vegas in his 1964 book Strange World
According too Edwards, an object sighted over Oneida, New York, continued westward. There were reports from Kansas and Colorado, and indications of something near the ground outside of Eureka, Utah. Something bright enough to later light up the streets of Reno, Nevada, like the noonday sun, and then turn toward Las Vegas, far to the south and hack to the east. It flared brightly and disappeared from the Nellis Air Force Base radar scopes at ten thousand feet.
This was an object seen by thousands as it crossed the country on the evening of April 18, 1962. The Air Force and debunkers quickly wrote it off as a bolide, a meteor so bright that it could light the darkened ground like the afternoon sun...but certainly not under intelligent control. (NOTE: sounds similar to the official explanation of the December 9, 1965 UFO incident near Kecksburg, PA).
Edwards claimed that only one newspaper carried anything about the exploding object. The Las Vegas Sun had printed the story titled 'Brilliant Red Explosion Flares In Las Vegas Sky', and Edwards, without interviewing a single witness himself, had used that as the basis for his report.
The Project Blue Book files stated that on April 18th, there was a radar sighting at Nellis Air Force Base that was at first labeled as "Unidentified" but later changed to "Insufficient Data for a Scientific Analysis." On the Project Record Card (ATIC FORM 329) the case was summarized as a:
"Radar sighting. Speed of object varied. (Important to note that] Initial observation at 060, no elevation. Disappearance at 105 [degrees] az [at] 10,000 feet altitude. Heading tentatively NE, however disappeared instantly to S. Observed by search and height radars. 'No visual."
Beginning in 1989, researcher Kevin Randle, in various books, progressively documented the case, culminating in A History of UFO Crashes Randle interviewed witnesses, searched Blue Book documents and newspaper articles, and provided by far the most complete picture of the events of April 18, 1962. Randle concluded that the object which crashed that night was an extraterrestrial craft.
The entire NICAP report compiled by Kevin Randle can be found at The Las Vegas UFO Crash. NICAP put together an excellent site with links to several documents that can be found at ADC
Alert - From New York to Las Vegas - A Ten-State Incident.