The 1970 Yuma UFO Incident – The Morphing Saucers Case

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
July 19, 2019
Last Updated
October 22, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
7 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

Although it is an account that entered the public arena via an online reporting facility several decades after it occurred, an apparent mass UFO sighting on the outskirts of Yuma in Arizona during the summer of 1970 is still an incident of interest. Not least as it contains details that are found in other UFO cases.

Depiction of a UFO over Japan

Depiction of a UFO over Japan

And while the incident, like many in the UFO community, may indeed require a little pinch of salt along the way, equally like other incidents, to ignore or dismiss it unreservedly would be as irresponsible as it would be to believe in the account without even the slightest reservation. Perhaps, also like several other such questionable cases, it is the reserved and almost pedestrian nature of the account that lends it that touch of credibility.

Despite the apparent multiple witnesses, however, only one witness, at least so far, is on record speaking of the encounter. The incident in Yuma is one that is best examined individually, and then each of us to make up our own minds on how authentic it might be.

Before we move on, however, check out the short video below. A recent sighting of a very similar UFO we are about to examine.

A Strange “Runway” In The Middle Of Nowhere

At around 3 am one morning in August 1970, Tayknmi Azzia and his brother were each sitting in the front compartment of their family’s camper motor home on a lonely backroad near Yuma, Arizona. Several of their travelers had left the vehicle to stretch their legs under the stars of the picturesque and quiet Arizona country. Tayknmi was more than happy to remain in the car looking up at the infinite blackness of the night sky and the splatter of stars it hosted.

The night was clear and all around them the fields and countryside were visible for some distance under the full moon. It was as Tayknmi was looking at the field when he noticed “a string of blue lights” which appeared as though they “ran parallel to the ground”. There were around 20 of these lights in total, making Tayknmi wonder if they were near a landing strip of some kind.

A depiction of a UFO shining a bright light

A depiction of a UFO shining a bright light

However, despite the equally spaced lights giving the impression of a runway, there was nothing else around for miles. And certainly not an airport, even a small, private one. They were approximately ten miles from the Yuma city center, of which they could see the skyline in the distance.

Still wrestling with the question of why a landing strip would be in the middle of nowhere with no surrounding support buildings, Tayknmi would turn around to ask for something to eat from a family member in the back part of the motor home. Upon turning back, however, he was confronted by another strange sight.

Landing Lights Moving “Painfully Slow” Through A “Deafening Silence!”

When he returned his attention back outside the front window of the motor home, he could see “a set of landing lights” heading straight towards their vehicle. He would state:

(There was) one red (light), two white, and one greenish aqua, coming in low, just over the (long) grass of the field! [1]

It was as he was trying to rationalize why a plane was flying so low, and how he could have failed to notice it until it got this close when he realized it was making no noise whatsoever. Furthermore, it was flying “painfully slowly” over the grass field “like it was gliding or crashing”.

A depiction of a UFO over the desert

A depiction of a UFO over the desert

They would watch the craft for around 15 minutes. When they wound down the windows of the vehicle’s doors to get a better listen to the object, not only was it seemingly silent, but all the noise of the usual wildlife of the nighttime was silent also.

Just to reiterate how slow the object was moving, it had still not reached or passed over their vehicle. In fact, at times, the witnesses felt certain the object was “standing still” and not moving at all.

It eventually reached two old oak trees that were near the “runway” and then began to climb slowly. As it did, though, another craft with an identical set of lights appeared directly underneath it and followed the exact same vertical climb. Tayknmi would later state how it appeared as though this second craft had been waiting on the ground, or even appeared from “under the ground” itself.

All the while, the pair continued to watch in silent awe.

Planes That Were Not Planes!

As they sat silently watching the bizarre scene unfold Tayknmi’s brother suggested they shine the camper’s spotlight towards one of the aircraft. Although he didn’t know why, he urged his brother not to do so. Perhaps, he reasoned, if they were not aircraft of a terrestrial nature “the light they might shine back might not be so good”.

A depiction of a UFO over the desert

A depiction of a UFO over the desert

Then, the crafts began to rise and hover for several minutes before returning to a lower position. In fact, it appeared they were very much putting on some kind of demonstration as they turned and backed around each other in the sky, giving the appearance of “boats rocking on deep water”. Tayknmi would elaborate:

They seemed aware of each other’s slightest movement like they were alive!

By the positioning of their “landing lights”, each of the crafts, whatever they were, were both facing toward them. The first object was now directly over the second one. Both of the witnesses were watching as the first object suddenly dropped downwards and “crashed” into the second one. However, instead of a cacophony of sound and an explosion of flames, the two objects simply bounced off each other silently.

Each of the objects would then continue to move upward and into the trees. Bizarrely, despite the branches bending as the crafts forced their way through them, none of them broke. And what’s more, there appeared to be no noise whatsoever.

As the two strange objects came into the full light of the moon, came the stark realization that “the planes were not planes” at all. And what’s more, they were now almost on top of them. Each of them screamed out loud.

A Sudden Approach

As the two huge objects now came into view under the “brilliant moonlight”, the two witnesses could see that they had no wings and were, in fact, distinctly circular, “like two pie pans put together!”

It appeared as well as alerting others in their party, their screams were somehow “audible” to the two objects as they immediately came straight toward their camper home within seconds of the sound, coming as close as the top of the telegraph poles. The two witnesses could see “the full underside of the ships” as they hovered over them.

Tayknmi recalled how they “appeared as light as the air itself” while obviously being a “solid metal object” who’s exterior “reflected in the moonlight”. It was otherwise a “nickel colored dull smooth steel” with no windows, doors, or seams. The landing lights that shined brightly when viewed “head-on” now appeared dim from the underside.

It now seemed as though they were going to land right on top of the motorhome, now forcing several more panicked screams from the rest of the group who were also now watching events unfold. They would estimate the circular objects were at least three times the size of their vehicle.

Then, as cries and screams of panic and fear rang out, the objects stopped.

A Mechanical Metamorphosis

Tayknmi and around ten other witnesses now watched, half in relief and half in awe. He would recall:

Flying side by side, the two saucers went up on their sides, from a horizontal to a vertical position, in perfect synchronization, and now stood in the sky, a stones’ throw above us, like two huge pewter silver wheels!

Then, right in front of the awestruck spectators, the two wheels began to glow with “intensely bright light” which somehow seemed to stretch out and meet in between them. Within seconds, this light revealed a bizarre mechanical metamorphosis from “dull flat saucers into huge glowing orbs”. And what’s more, it happened with no fewer than 16 witnesses watching in disbelief only feet below.

A depiction of a UFO in the sky with onlookers below

A depiction of a UFO in the sky with onlookers below

Strangely, there was no sound, no smell of smoke or other burning, and no heat. Even though the witnesses were only a matter of feet away.

The next thing the onlookers realized, the two orbs had “shot off like white-hot meteors”, only they were moving upwards and in the direction of the Yuma skyline. Within a minute, the two objects appeared like “bouncing stars” over the buildings of the downtown area. As the now much relieved but still unnerved witnesses watched the display, the orbs changed color, from blue to white, to red, and then to green.

They watched the objects dance and fly around the skyline of the city. Then, they appeared headed back in their direction. The temporary calm erupted into panicked movement by the onlookers.

In Pursuit Until The Outskirts Of The City

From above, the scene must have resembled something similar to ants scurrying into the respective rocks. Only for those on the grounds, these rocks were their respective vehicles which they all “went from 0 to 90” in seconds. Tayknmi would recall:

…raising a cloud of dust so think we could barely see through it! Looking out our windows, and up, we could see the objects were back, and following us from the sky!

Now, however, the objects were no longer hovering at low altitude, but were “as high as any commercial plane”. In fact, they looked just like planes – until they “turned on a dime” in complete synchronization.

A depiction of a UFO in the desert

A depiction of a UFO in the desert

As the witnesses focused on the objects, it also became apparent that they had changed their form back to saucers.

The pursuit would continue until they reached the immediate outskirts of the city limits. And with signs of life all around them, felt safe enough to pull their vehicles back over to the side of the road for a moment. They would watch the objects clearly once more. As they did so, the two glowing crafts vanished into the night sky. Back in the direction they had come from, seemingly now disinterested in the makeshift procession.

The rest of the night and vacation continued without incident. Indeed, the witness would claim decades later that although they had not experienced anything like that encounter in the early hours of that August morning, they still “continue to watch the skies!”

Reverse-Engineered Alien Technology Or Just One Of The State’s Many UFO Encounters?

Perhaps the overriding notion that would come from Tayknmi was that the objects were somehow “aware” of their presence. It is certainly possible that awareness might stem from the occupants inside. It is, however, an interesting observation that many others who have had similar close encounters have made also.

And what should we make of the apparent changing of the object’s shape? This again is something that comes up perhaps more than many people might think. And it isn’t only in UFO circles either. If we look to our article on Black Helicopters which are themselves mysteriously intertwined with UFOs and aliens. Several reports insist that they too changed shape right in front of the respective witnesses.

Let’s accept the objects witnessed by Tayknmi were extraterrestrial in origin. Might this suggest that the Black Helicopter mysteries have their roots in reverse-engineered alien technology?

And what of the location itself. As we and numerous other UFO researchers have highlighted on several occasions, Arizona along with several other western states, are absolute hotbeds for UFO activity and government conspiracies. Perhaps, then, it is no surprise that such a sighting occurred in The Grand Canyon State.

A sketch of the strange UFO incident

A sketch of the strange UFO incident

Perhaps it is also worth mentioning a little-known incident from Yuma in the 1950s. According to a newspaper clipping, [2] (pictured above) a couple “vanished in the middle of the desert” without leaving a trace after they had to make an emergency landing in their small plane due to running out fuel. Several rumors would sweep the town at the time. Mainly the couple was taken by “a flying saucer that had invaded the desert”. Might the incident share a connection to the sighting in 1970?

Check out the video below. It looks at some of the best UFO sightings from Arizona over the years.


1 Morphing Metal Saucers over Yuma, Arizona, 1970, UFO Casebook
2 The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, UFOs, A History, 1959 July – September, Loren E. Gross

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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