Frederick Valentich Memorial Plaque – Cape Otway, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Frederick Valentich Memorial Plaque

Cape Otway, Australia

A plaque at the lighthouse where Frederick Valentich made his last radio contact before he vanished without a trace. 


“That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again … it is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.”

Those were the last words of pilot Fredrick Valentich, as they were uttered to air traffic controller, Steve Robey, before he and his single-engine Cessna 182L disappeared off the face of the earth.

On October 23rd, 1978 Frederick Valentich flew from Moorabbin Airport to King Island, his mission simple - to pick up some crayfish. When he flew across the Bass Strait, he radioed to Cape Otway to complain that an unidentified aircraft was “playing games” with his aircraft.

Assuring him that there were no military planes, or any planes for that matter in the vicinity, Robey asked Valentich to describe the aircraft. The pilot replied that it had four bright lights, and kept buzzing him at great speeds. Then he said it hovered above him, shining a green light from its shiny, metallic frame. Puzzled, the pilot then reported that the aircraft vanished.

A little flustered but relieved, Valentich radioed in that he intended to continue on to Kings Island, but suddenly the aircraft appeared again, this time directly above him. The pilot relayed that his engines had begun to rough idle, and then clearly upset, spoke the eerie last words that have stayed with Steve Robey ever since. “…it is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.”

His family, especially his father, weathered the media frenzy and the exclamations by the public that their Fredrick had been abducted by little green men, and held vigil at the lighthouse at Cape Otway every year on the anniversary of his disappearance. 20 years after the doomed pilot and his plane vanished, his family erected a memorial plaque, which was unveiled by Steve Robey himself.


Know Before You Go

Cape Otway Lighthouse

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