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Autumn 1993 – Cotteridge, Birmingham – Disc UFO Sighting

Updated: Sep 7, 2019

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report

Author: Dave Hodrien

Release Date: 04/09/2019

Note: For reasons of anonymity pseudonyms have been used

While many sightings reported to BUFOG are distant objects which cannot clearly be made out, occasionally we receive details of incidents involving clearly structured craft. This is one such case, a stunning multiple witness sighting of a large disc-shaped UFO which occurred in late summer/early autumn of 1993. Sarah, one of the two witnesses, regularly attends our monthly meetings. During her first visit she informed me of the incident. We then spoke over the phone on numerous occasions to go over the details.

Sighting Details

Back in 1993 when she was 28 years old Sarah lived in the area of Kings Norton Green. One Friday afternoon in late summer or early autumn (Sarah cannot remember the precise date) she was looking after her 8 year old nephew Timothy. Her friend Nicky got bitten by her pet hamster on her thumb. Her thumb started to swell up and she was worried she could get tetanus from the wound, so she decided it would be wise to go and get a tetanus jab at Selly Oak Hospital (which no longer exists). Sarah decided to keep her company for the drive. She offered to drive Nicky’s car for her but Nicky said she would be fine to drive despite the injury. So they headed off around 6.30-7pm with Sarah in the passenger seat and Timothy on the back seat.

It was a very pleasant evening, still and warm, with a completely clear sky. It was still quite bright as due to the time of year the sun had only just started to set. In order to reach Selly Oak they had to travel North through Cotteridge and then Bournville. They began to drive along Pershore Road South. There were a few other vehicles on the road but it was quite clear.

They pulled up at the traffic lights at the junction with Melchetts Road. While they were waiting for the lights to change, Nicky glanced out of the window off to her right. She suddenly exclaimed “Sarah have a look at this, what’s this?” From the passenger seat Sarah could not immediately see what Nicky was referring to, and replied “What?” Nicky responded “Have a look!” Sarah bent forward in her seat to have a look at what Nicky was staring at. Off to the right on the far side of the crossroads was a Peugeot show room (It has now been replaced with a Ford show room). Above the show room, no higher than several hundred feet up, was what appeared to be a dark grey cloud. It was unusually low in the sky, and looked like it was about to start dropping rain. Sarah said “It’s a big dirty low lying cloud.” Nicky responded “No…look again! What is it?”

Aerial map of Pershore Road showing the position of the traffic lights (A) and car show room (B)

Photograph from the lights in the direction of the car show room

Once again Sarah looked up at the cloud. This time she noticed something incredible. Emerging from the side of the cloud she could see what appeared to be a large disc-shaped object. It was silvery-grey in colour but not reflective. Around the centre was a line of white glowing lights. Sarah immediately knew that this was something highly unusual and felt she was witnessing an alien craft. She could barely believe what she was looking at. She excitedly exclaimed “There’s a big fuck off UFO emerging from the cloud!”

She and Nicky continued to watch as the UFO emerged entirely from the side of the cloud. This took approximately 6 seconds. The object appeared to be about the same size as a medium-sized passenger aircraft (e.g. an Airbus 3300-200). This would make it approximately 59 metres/190 feet across. They were looking up at it at an angle of approximately 45 degrees so could see the underside of the object. As it emerged Sarah noticed a red light suddenly appear and perform a circular sweep in the middle. It only took a second to perform the motion then seemed to flash a little brighter and vanish. A moment later a blue light appeared and performed exactly the same motion.

The lights went to green and Nicky began to drive the car forward so as not to block any other traffic. Sarah did not notice any other cars stopped or pedestrians standing still, so has no idea if anyone else had noticed the UFO. Nicky drove slower than usual along the road as they were still both transfixed by the object. They soon noticed that the object appeared to be moving too, travelling roughly the same direction they were moving in and at the same speed as the car. It remained situated ahead of them and off to the right.

Witness drawing of the UFO over the car show room

They drove North through Cotteridge along Watford Road then Linden Road. As they were travelling along Linden Road they noticed that the object was moving further away from them off to the right. They were in danger of losing sight of it. They reached the crossroads with Mary Vale Road in Bournville. At this point they would have needed to have continued heading North to reach Selly Oak, but instead they decided to turn right onto Mary Vale Road to keep observing the UFO. This was now their primary concern rather than the hospital visit.

As they were approaching Bournville train station car park on their left, the UFO crossed the road ahead of them. They continued driving along the road until they were approaching the bridge that crosses over the railway. Through a gap in the trees off to the left of the road they could see the UFO hovering close to an electrical tower. It appeared to have stopped moving. They parked up at the side of the road. There were no other vehicles or pedestrians around. The witnesses sat in the car staring at the object for about ten minutes. Sarah says that a number of vehicles may have driven past them during this time but they were fully absorbed by what they were seeing, and did not care about attempting to draw anyone else’s attention to the UFO.

Aerial map of Mary Vale Road showing the location where the car was parked (A) and the location where the UFO halted

Photograph from the parking location showing the electrical tower where the UFO was situated

After about ten minutes they decided to change location to try and get a closer look at the object. It was still hovering completely still over the electrical tower. They set off in the car and drove over the bridge, then turned left along Victoria Road. At the end of this they again turned left onto Bournville Lane. This brought them back round to the railway line but this time lower down with it passing over the road.

Just before the tunnel they parked up. After the last house on the left there was a vegetation covered slope. The electrical tower was visible beyond this, and the object was hovering above it. They were now the closest they had been to the UFO since the start of the sighting. Sarah asked Nicky “Wind the windows down, let’s see if there’s any noise coming from it.” She did so but the object appeared to be completely silent. Due to the angle it was hard to see from inside the car, so Sarah got out. Nicky remained inside the car with Timothy.

Aerial map of Bournville Lane showing the parking location (A) and the location of the UFO (B)

Photograph from the parking location looking up at the electrical tower

The object continued to remain motionless in the sky. Sarah could still barely comprehend what she was observing, but there it was, plain as day. Once again she saw the red light then blue light rotate in the centre of the underside.

Witness drawing of the UFO close to the electrical tower

Sarah stared up at the UFO for about 50 seconds. She then got back into the car and began discussing it with Nicky. She began to get worried that Timothy could be in danger and that the craft may attempt to abduct him. Turning round to check on him they found him visibly shaking on the back seat. He was obviously very upset by what was taking place. Sarah and Nicky decided it would be best to move a little further away from the object. They set off again, driving under the railyway line. They then turned left along Franklin Way, which brought them back to Mary Vale Road. Once again they parked in the same location they had been before, with the UFO still visible between the trees over the tower.

Again they continued to watch it for at least ten minutes. By this time it was staring to get darker and the street lights had come on. With no signs of movement, the witnesses began to contemplate the idea of willingly ending the sighting. Sarah said “I’m getting fed up with watching it, we’d better get to the hospital.” A moment later the UFO began to rotate. It started to spin faster and faster. It then suddenly shot vertically into the sky! In a matter of seconds it became a glowing white point of light in the distance.

Witness drawing of the UFO and how it looked when it was spinning

Sarah thought this would be the end of the sighting but then to her amazement after a couple of seconds the UFO began to descend again at a slower speed, moving further away to the North East as it did. It continued to descend until it was about the same height it had been before. It appeared to be over the area of Selly Park where the River Rea flows.

Sarah and Nicky continued to watch it for a couple more minutes before deciding to head to the hospital. They turned the car around and set off West along Mary Vale Road. This was the last they saw of the object. On the way to the hospital they discussed what they had just witnessed. However neither of them mentioned it to anyone at the hospital. Sarah says that she felt nobody would have believed her and would have ridiculed her about it. They remained at the hospital for a couple of hours before heading for home.


The following morning about 10-11am Sarah had to take Timothy back to her sister Rachel’s house on The Fairway in Kings Norton. She parked outside and got out of the car. She was about to knock on the door when she heard the very loud sound of propellers overhead. Looking up she saw three very large military helicopters. She had never seen anything like them before, and discovered later on that they were Chinooks.

Photograph of a military Chinook helicopter

The helicopters were heading North East in the direction of Cotteridge and Bournville where the UFO had been situated the evening before. Once she could no longer see them she knocked on the door and entered her sister’s house.

Aerial map of The Fairway showing the estimated flight path of the helicopters

She briefly mentioned the helicopters, but soon began telling Rachel and her brother-in-law Steven about the UFO she and Nicky had witnessed. When she finally finished recounting the details Steven said “Well that’s why those helicopters are flying over!” Sarah had not considered that the two incidents could be linked and asked “What do you mean?” Steven responded “Because they want to find out what’s been in their air space.”

Sarah never found out the reason why the helicopters were flying over Birmingham that morning, she just knows that she had never seen them before up to that point.

The News Report

Two days later on the Monday evening Sarah watched Central News, the local television news hosted by Bob Warman. She watched it on purpose in case anyone else had reported seeing the UFO.

Still of Central News from the 1990s

Incredibly Bob began to mention that there had been numerous UFO sightings reported over the weekend and the news station had received multiple phone calls. They then showed video footage of what initially appeared to be a dark grey elongated object in the sky. As the camera zoomed in it immediately became apparent that the object was a powered Good Year advertising blimp. The camera zoomed back out, and once again the blimp became unclear.

Bob then explained away the UFO reports as sightings of this blimp. Sarah was a van driver at the time, and would travel all around the Birmingham area. She had observed the blimp herself on numerous occasions earlier in the week leading up to the sighting and knew exactly what it looked like. She was extremely angry that the news was attempting to explain away the reports as this. She knew that what she had seen on Friday night was definitely not an advertising blimp, and wondered if they were deliberately trying to cover up other genuine sightings of the craft which had been reported.

Nicky's Statement

I have not yet been able to speak directly with Nicky due to personal reasons, however I got Sarah to send her a text message asking her about what she recalled. Sarah sent me a screen grab showing her texts and Nicky's respones. The initial message and response read as follows:

S: I just joined a UFO group and gave info of my recollection of what happened and said about you and anonymous btw. And he said could you write down what you remember from the lights at kings norton when we first saw it. In detail as much as possible. I know you're busy.

N: Yes I remember because all the street lights went out and all the car engines died. I remember Harry saying when we got back to the flat all the army helicopters were out etc.

It is clear from this message that Nicky recollected seeing the UFO alongside Sarah. This is important as it is evidence that the incident took place. However her memories of what ocurred seem to differ from Sarah's. Nicky recalls seeing street lights go out and car engines being stopped by the presence of the craft. She also seems to recall seeing her brother-in-law Steven when they returned to her flat rather than the following morning over at her sister's house.

Sarah herself was confused by Nicky's recollection of the UFO and so immediately messaged her back, which led to a second response:

S: All what lights went out and whose engines died?

N: The street lights dipped for a few seconds and went out and some car engines stopped then seconds later the object disappeared then everything went back to normal and there were some people standing out of their cars etc looking up at the sky

Sarah confirmed to me that she has no recollection of this happening. However a possible explanation for this is that her view from the passenger side of the car differed to Nicky's view of what was happening. It is possible that street lights dipped and went off, and car engines stopped to the right of their car (which would have been in closer proximity to the UFO), but Sarah's view of this was blocked by Nicky in the drivers seat.

Nicky does not mention anything about them following the UFO or observing it from the locations in Bourneville but this could be because Sarah's initial text only asked her what happened at the traffic lights, not to give details of the entire series of events. Her difference in recollection of where they met her brother-in-law can easily be put down to error in memory, in multiple witnesses cases there are often small discrepancies such as this. Sarah is adamant that she observed the helicopters flying over herself the following day while returning Timothy to her sister's house.

I hope to get the chance to speak with Nicky in more depth in due course. If this takes place then this report will be furter updated.

Incident Analysis

This is a truly impressive sighting of what appeared to be a solid structured craft. Firstly let me say that I have no doubts that the witnesses are referring to a real incident. When I spoke in depth with Sarah about what happened she would give answers without hesitation. She comes across as very open, honest and trustworthy. The journey the car and UFO made all makes sense and we were easily able to find the key locations on Google maps. It is a shame that neither witness had a camera on them at the time as they were able to get quite close to the UFO. Mobile phones did not have cameras on back in 1993 and there were no other pedestrians around at any of the locations they stopped at.

The length of time of the sighting is unprecedented – most sightings tend to last for only a few minutes at most. This certainly gave the witnesses time to observe the UFO in great detail at many different angles, greatly reducing the possibility of misidentification of a mundane object. It was clearly not a normal aircraft of any kind. It was far too large to be a radio controlled model, and due to the distance it travelled this seems very unlikely. The spinning motion and massive increase in speed and altitude which they watched it perform towards the end of the sighting it cannot have been a lit hot air balloon or blimp. It definitely appeared to be under intelligent control as opposed to randomly drifting due to the flight manoeuvres observed.

I have dealt with many sightings of disc-shaped craft before, and in many of these sightings lights have been reported around the central rim. The intermittent circling red and blue lights are particularly intriguing. They would only occur roughly once every 5 minutes, tending to suggest they were related to a scheduled activity which the UFO was performing.

The cloud which the UFO first emerged from is a very intriguing aspect of the sighting. It was an extremely clear evening and there were no other clouds in the sky at that time. Also the cloud appeared to be abnormally low in the sky over the car showroom. These facts suggest that it may well have been artificial in nature, and that the craft was initially using this as a form of disguise. This is of course just speculation, if it was using this as camouflage then why emerge from the cloud at all?

The UFO moved off in the same direction as the witnesses’ car in roughly the same direction. This could perhaps be interpreted as deliberate, although as they proceeded North it began to get further and further away as it headed towards Bournville. However what is more interesting is the fact that the UFO span and shot vertically moments after the witnesses were considering leaving the area due to the fact it was not doing anything for an extended period of time. Was this just coincidence, or had it actually read their minds and performed this manoeuvre on purpose for their observation? I suspect it was merely coincidence, but this cannot be put completely out of the question.

The locations where the UFO stopped moving during the sighting are also worthy of note. Over Bournville the craft hovered very close to an electrical tower and substation for a period of time. There is definitely the possibility that it went to that location on purpose, perhaps to drain electricity to utilise or to scan the area. When it shot up into the sky and then descended, Sarah informed me that it seemed to be close to where the River Rea was. Had it gone there on purpose to drain water from the river? There are many cases on record where UFOs have been reported in close proximity to water sources.

Full map of events showing the route the car took, estimated path of the UFO, the location of the traffic lights on Pershore Road (A), the parking location at Mary Vale Road (B) and the parking location at Bourneville Lane (C)

It is unknown whether the Chinook helicopters that Sarah witnessed on the following morning were anything to do with the UFO or not. While it seems tempting to link the two incidents, they did occur many hours apart. There could well have been a military training exercise or air show on that day. I have been unable to find anything online for August or September 1993, but it did happen a long time ago and a military exercise may not have even been written about on the net.

The news report is another very interesting aspect of this case. It aired a few days after the sighting, but this does not mean that it could not have been related. It is of course possible that the news report really was referring to misidentifications of the Good Year blimp, which Sarah confirmed was over Birmingham that week. Perhaps it was just coincidence that this roughly coincided with the sighting. However given what has happened in the past time and time again, there is also the possibility that a number of reports of the UFO had been received, and the news report was put out on purpose to debunk these encounters. We have no way of knowing for certain either way, but if it was some kind of cover up, this confirms that there were other witnesses out there who have yet to come forward.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2019



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