Mr Thomason's first picture of the object coming out of the
water. The three legs could be seen together with several portholes.
The 1993 Maslin Beach photo case
When Eric Thomason in Maslin Beach, Australia, looked out across the ocean,
he saw - to his great surprise - how an object rose from the waves and
started flying towards him. When the object came nearer, Eric took out his
camera and started taking photographs.
- I could feel water dripping from the craft, he tells UFO-Aktuellt.
By Clas Svahn
Translation by Stefan Isaksson
The photographs are quite sensational, and there are really just two
alternatives: either Eric Thomason's photographs are the most astounding so
far, or it's just a simple hoax.
Eric Thomason, 69, is a senior citizen living in Maslin Beach in southern
Australia. Not far from his house is an old abandoned mine, Maslin Old
Quarry, where he sometimes takes his dog for a walk.
In March 1993, Eric decided to try to document the old mine using his son's
camera, a Kodak S50 with a Fuji 100 ASA-film. Despite having never owned a
camera of his own and having virtually no experiencing photographing, Eric
set off in order to try to capture the beautiful colors of the open-cast
mine from as many angles as possible. And, s photo contest in the magazine
"Southern Times-Messenger" about the best image of a sunrise over land also
helped him in his decision. He thought he would be able to capture the
sunrise on film from Ochre Point, a cliff 60 meters high from where
hang-gliders used to take off - but the sun was hidden behind a dense layer
The Sun was Hidden
Wednesday, March 10, didn't appear to be much better. It was a cool
morning, only 14 degrees Celsius, and a stubborn wind came from the west.
From the top of the grassy cliff, Eric was forced to accept that there
wasn't going to be a sunrise that morning either. A persistent layer of
clouds blocked out the sun, and the time was 06:00 AM when Eric instead
turned to face the ocean to the west.
- It was then that I saw a movement on the surface on the water, and
something looking like the tower on an atomic submarine emerged, Eric tells
UFO-Sweden. When the object rose from the water I was able to see how three
legs were pointing out from the hull. I was also able to see how it was
spinning, and how the three legs were pulled in.
Before the legs were pulled in, Eric managed to take his first photograph
of the object, and he estimates the distance to the object at the time
being about 400 meters. It then dawned on him how exposed his position was.
Standing on top of the Ochre Point with the sun right behind him made him
an easy target to spot for a possible crew.
Maslin Beach. An arrow points to the place were Mr Thomason was
standing during the observation.
- I had heard of people being abducted by UFOs, so I climbed down a slope
nearby. From there I could see how the light-grey object came flying
somewhat south of me, and came to a halt over the mine. At that very moment
I spotted yet another object, north of the first one. That's when I snapped
my second picture, but since the light from the sunrise was straight into
my view-finder I moved a little to the left.
The main object has turned its bottom to the photographer and a
second object has appeared a little farther away.
Both of the objects in a slightly different position.
While taking photographs from his hideout five meters below the top of the
cliff, the new object moved towards the larger one, came to a halt, and
then continued upwards, into a deepening in the larger object.
- I could see three lights on the exterior of the larger object and how it
shone around the opening. Shortly after I'd taken the fourth and last
photograph the larger object rose straight up and disappeared over me. When
that happened, I could feel water dripping from the craft down on me.
The main object with the second object slightly under a bit
In a report form to the Australian UFO-group Australian Flying Saucer
Research Society, Eric estimates the size of the object to be 40 meters,
and the distance (when he first saw it rise from the ocean) to be 2
kilometres. While talking to him on the phone, Eric tells me how it never
got closer to him than 400 metres.
When the incident was over, Eric returned home. However, despite his
amazing encounter he decided to remain quiet about it, even to his wife. He
first wanted to have the film developed in order to find out if there
indeed were any photographs of it. But he was not in a hurry. Before he
handed in the film for development he made sure to use up the entire film.
And not until May, 1994, when he had watched a UFO show on TV, did he bring
forward the photographs.
- At first he didn't tell me anything since I wasn't feeling well at the
time, and later he believed that the photographs weren't going to show
anything, Mrs. Thomason says when UFO-Sweden talks to her. But after he had
had the film developed he showed them to me. I'm certain it's a spaceship.
Eric is not the lying type, and I believe him.
Still, there are several details in his story that are worth pondering.
Eric Thomason set his alarm clock to 05:45 in order to catch the sunrise,
which took place around 06:00. During these 15 minutes, Mr. Thomason had
time to get out of bed, put on several layers of warm clothing, bring his
camera, fetch the dog at the back of the house, walk to Ochre Point (which
according to Mrs. Thomason takes 5 minutes), climb the 60 meters tall
cliff, wait for the failed sunrise, and then walk on to another site close
by in order to look out over the ocean. At 06:00 sharp he took his first
photograph of the object. The bright blue sky on the first photograph
suggests the images were taken later in the day.
In a letter, Eric describes what happened when the photographs were
returned from the photo lab: "When the film had been developed I noticed
yet another object on the first photograph, which I hadn't seen during the
incident itself. A black dot in the distance, halfway between the object
and the edge of the photograph, which might have been an airplane several
kilometres away, or the smaller object on its way to intercept with the
According to Eric, the negatives were analyzed by Kodak in Adelaide, but he
doesn't know anything about the results.
- The negatives were sent in by Mark Tarrot, a "UFO-fanatic". He knows what
the results were.
The camera Eric used was a cheap Kodak S50, purchased in a department store
for 40 USD. The S50 uses normal 35 mm film, and has never been available on
the Swedish market. Its focus is set, and cannot be changed. There are, on
the whole, no buttons to push except the shutter release. Cameras of this
type are always set on infinitude, and have a large depth of field. And
here's where an uncertainty becomes apparent. If you look at the first
photograph the object, which supposedly is 400 metres away, is in focus
while the horizon is fuzzy. As a matter of fact, both the object and the
horizon should be in focus.
That aside, the images agree with Eric's story, and during our entire
conversation he answers all my questions correct, even when I try to trap
Mr. Thomason's photographs have caused a lot of attention worldwide, and
have even ended up in an American UFO almanac.
- There have been so many people calling, that I'm now starting to get sick
of it, Eric says while mentioning how he is very critical to other UFO
photographs. But I've begun looking for them in the evenings while out
walking the dog. I know there are UFOs from different planets in the
universe. But so far I've only seen meteorites.
Finally I ask Erik Thomason the most important question of them all: Are
the photographs really genuine? Do they really depict the object you said
emerged from the ocean?
- Yes, absolutely, he says briefly and adds, OK?
This picture, taken by the author, shows a part of the
ventilation system for private boats. The part is made of plastic and very
light and shows many similarities to the Maslin Beach UFO but of a
The ventilation part comes in several different configurations.
To this date it has not been able to find a part with the exact looks of
the Maslin Beach object.
After this article went into print in UFO-Sweden's magazine UFO-Aktuellt in
1996 several readers has pointed out that the Maslin Beach UFO does have
many similarities with a part of the ventilation system built for private
boats. As can be seen in the pictures that goes with this article this
theory could not been ruled out. The author of this article is currently
trying to find more ventilation parts that could make a better match.
Telephone interview with Eric Thomason and his wife 18 April, 1996, written
report and letter from Eric Thomason 26 February, 1996.