The Isla De Lobos Lighthouse Incident

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
August 24, 2018
Last Updated
October 13, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
7 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Cover-Ups

In October 1972 on the Isla De Lobos, a small island off the coast of Uruguay, situated where the River Plate and the Atlantic Ocean meet, one of the most intricately investigated close encounters in Uruguayan UFO history would unfold. The island is all but deserted save for a lighthouse which the Uruguayan navy maintain. It was during one such maintenance mission that a young corporal’s life was changed forever.

A depiction of a UFO hovering near a lighthouse

Did a UFO visit Isla De Lobos?

We recently looked at the 1950 encounter of Bruno Facchini and declared how many of the details that at first appear trivial are replicated in many other similar incidents. The case at the Isla De Lobos lighthouse is another such case. As well as the corresponding details with other incidents, the sighting is largely regarded as extremely credible. Although skeptics argue only a single person witnessed the events, the subsequent investigations would result in a tidal wave of psychological tests from experts in different fields. All would ultimately endorse the other. And the encounter itself.

Strange Lights During Routine Check

It was just after 10 pm on 28th October 1972. Five navy personnel, Corporal Juan Fuentes, Jose Gomez and Hector Gimenez, along with the officer in charge, Francisco Cascudo and telegraph operator, Jose Lima, were playing cards following their evening meal. Fuentes checked his watch and excused himself to carry out his generator inspection duties.

The generator units were near the lighthouse, opposite the barracks and living quarters of the men. As Fuentes stepped outside the lighthouse standing at over 200 feet looked down on him almost menacingly. Before he could take more than a few steps, however, strange lights on top of the generator roof, [1] around twenty-feet from the ground, caught his attention. He stopped in his tracks, confused. To him, the lights looked like the headlights of a car. He backed up and returned inside. Without notifying any of the other men, who were on the other side of the building, he went to retrieve his pistol. He then returned outside and proceeded to approach the generator at the foot of the lighthouse.

He could see now that whatever the object was, there were several lights of multiple colors of yellow, white, and violet. Fuentes continued forward, but slowly. He could see a “figure” at the base of the mystery object moving around. Then, he noticed a second figure making its way down to the roof from the object. Immediately after, a third figure emerged – this one taller than the first two. He would estimate the taller figure to be around six foot, while the first two appeared to be closer to five foot.

It was then that all three of them suddenly turned around to face the approaching Fuentes. He stopped immediately.

“Don’t Shoot Because It’s Useless!”

He was around thirty yards from the generator when the three mystery figures turned to face him. His first instinct, partly through fear and partly through his military training was to raise the pistol into a firing position. However, as he went to extend his arm fully, something stopped him from completing the motion. Fuentes would later struggle to explain what stopped him from doing so. He would describe a “vibrating” feeling in his arm as well as feeling paralyzed and unable to lift the weapon. Fuentes also recalled a strange, almost telepathic communication telling him “don’t shoot because it’s useless”.

He remained where he was, noticing how the figures moved in a slow, bumbling manner. He would later recall thinking that the suits, which covered their entire body, must have been extremely heavy. This is a detail that is almost identical to the aforementioned Facchini case over two decades previously and on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Italy. He would also state that the figures had “elongated heads”. While this would perhaps fit with descriptions of gray aliens, it is more probable that it is a reference to some kind of head garment, probably part of the suit itself.

After several moments, certainly no longer than a minute, the beings began to re-enter the craft, which itself had a distinct metallic quality to the exterior. As each of the figures went back inside the object it was obvious to Fuentes from the motions of their bodies that they were climbing some type of steps to do so. Then, the doorway closed with a sideways motion and began to rise directly upwards. When it was slightly higher than the top of the lighthouse a bright “fireball” shot from the underside and the craft vanished at breakneck speed.

A depiction of a UFO hovering over the coast

A depiction of a UFO hovering over the coast

Interest From The American Embassy

Fuentes remained for a moment watching the sky. Despite the ferocious speed with which the craft vacated the area, aside from a low “humming sound” the action was otherwise silent. Content that no other mysterious crafts were overhead, he returned inside. When he arrived where the rest of the unit was still playing cards all noticed how pale the young corporal was. And that he had a pistol in his hands. He informed them all of what he had seen. All of the men were dismissive of the sighting, although Cascudo quietly took in the details.

While it isn’t certain, it would appear that Cascudo would pass on the report to a superior. Shortly after the incident, Fuentes received orders to report to a high-ranking military officer. This time, the details were meticulously recorded, and Fuentes’ account was treated with much more seriousness. So much so that two “special agents” from the American Embassy would speak to the high-ranking officer in an off-room immediately following his interview with Fuentes. They would then offer him several drawings of strangely shaped crafts and discs. He was asked to highlight which one was the closest to the object he saw.

Then, the interest from the military and the American embassy ceased – at least officially. While Fuentes would tell of the account and the incident would be investigated by several UFO researchers, it remains unexplained. Of course, the fact that the American embassy would be interested in a sighting that officially the US government has no interest in is perhaps a telling sign in itself.

“Sincere, Uncomplicated, And Simple”

Some of the independent investigations that followed would strengthen Fuentes as a witness. Perhaps most notably the investigation of the Uruguayan UFO Investigation Center [2] (C.I.O.V.I.) who would subject the witness to intense psychological tests. These tests, as we mentioned at the start, would only serve to present a watertight case on behalf of Fuentes.

Although not particularly endearing, he would be described in the conclusions of these examinations as “sincere, uncomplicated and simple”. Furthermore, he was truthful, straightforward, and with no “cultural burden” to color his thinking. Further still, according to the test conclusions, Fuentes “has no tendency to fabrication or fantasy” and that he “lacks an average imagination”. Overall, the witness had “less than average intellectual capacity” along with a “remarkably poor knowledge of what is going on in the social environment”. In short, in the opinion of independent (even to the UFO field) experts, he was telling the truth.

Even his action of getting his gun while at the same time failing to alert his unit of the bizarre events was indicative of his limited response and imagination. These were not the actions of someone looking to pass falsehood off as truth. In fact, how he did act in the face of such an adverse event, is exactly how his profilers’ results suggested he would.

Isla De Lobos UFO Sketch

Isla De Lobos UFO Sketch

The Rojas-Penafiel Case

Another similar incident occurred several months earlier, again in the South American continent, this time in Nazca, Peru. [3] It was early morning on the 3rd February 1972. Feed store owners, Tito Rojas and Adolfo Penafiel were driving from Puquilo to Nazca in order to make deliveries before the sun became too unbearable.

They headed north on the Pan American Highway, each side of the road presenting a brown, rocky and sandy landscape. When they were just south of Nazca, the truck radio began to experience interference. Static persistently broke up the music until it finally went silent completely. Before Tito had a chance to worry about the radio, however, the truck began to slow up. No matter how hard he pressed down on the pedal, the engine failed to pick up any speed, even though the engine itself was “racing”. It too soon gave out, and the car came to a complete stop.

Each of the men exited the truck, Tito voicing his concern that if the battery needed recharging they would be there “all day and all night”. As he investigated, Adolfo suddenly pointed off in the distance, telling his friend to look at what he was seeing. “I think it’s a car” he would say as Tito turned to look also. Tito knew it wasn’t a car given how far in the countryside they were. However, even so, he too could see a “silver gleam” ahead of them.

Gone With A “Metallic Whine!”

The two men set off in the direction of the shining object. Whatever it was, maybe they could help them. The closer they got, they could make out a disc-shaped object that had a “mirror-like surface”. So shiny was the surface of the craft that each man had to squint considerably when looking at it. On the underside was three legs upon which the craft rested. The two men estimated it to be around fifty feet in length and over ten feet high.

Just as they were taking in as many details as they could, the apparent occupant of the strange craft, “a man of average height” came into view. He adorned a “transparent space-suit” under which both men recalled he had “green clothes”. Still a considerable distance away from the craft, both of the men stepped up their pace, eager and excited to meet this strange visitor. However, the figure noticed their approach and in an instant, he entered the shining craft and was out of sight.

A few seconds later the bright disc began to rise. It continued directly upwards at an increasingly high speed until it was completely out of sight. As it did so a “metallic whine” was audible. This is a sound that many people of the area are familiar with, incidentally. Perhaps this suggests consistent visitations, even if they are not always witnessed. The two men returned to their truck. Interestingly, when Tito tried the keys in the ignition, the engine and the radio roared into life.

Incidentally, the Rojas-Penafiel case was one of the first of hundreds of UFO sightings between 1972 and 1973 in the region. Perhaps even more interestingly, 90 percent of the sightings were of a “silver disc” with “human-like occupants”.

A picture of a UFO over the Nazca Lines

A picture of a UFO over the Nazca Lines

Connections Between “One-Off” Incidents?

Whether or not there is a connection between the two sightings highlighted here is open to debate. And whether there are further reaching connections with UFO sightings such as the Facchini encounter is also up for discussion. The similarities, though, are undeniable. Be it the disc-shaped, metallic crafts, or the human-like occupants of them. Or indeed their space-suits, which for the most part appear to be “extremely heavy”. And force the wearer to move slowly and clumsily. Also, on each occasion, despite being in control of the situation (by use of some kind of mental paralysis in the case of Fuentes), each of the mystery visitors is in a decisive hurry to vacate the area once approached.

And, for sake of argument, if there is a connection between these sightings, what might that tell us of other, equally credible incidents that offer completely different details to these, but that correspond just as well with other cases? Does this suggest that there is indeed an extraterrestrial presence on our planet? And that Earth receives consistent visits from different races of such extraterrestrials? Each with different, perhaps even competing agendas? Not a groundbreaking revelation, admittedly, but certainly a step towards proving the notion is far from outlandish. Maybe by highlighting these apparently blatant similarities in these “one-off” and unconnected incidents, a fuller picture will emerge.


1 Alien Encounters, Rupert Matthews, ISBN 9781848 584433
2 Alien Encounter at Isla De Lobos, Uruguay, 10-28-1972, UFO Casebook
3 The UFO That Landed Near The Nazca Drawings In Peru Of 1972, Aliens Are Friends

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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