Many people reported seeing UFOs on the same day and during the night of Valentich's disappearance. A number of these reports are difficult to reconcile with the hysteria and publicity that escalated rapidly over the affair, elevating it to an international sensation. Some 15 or more distinct sightings survived the gauntlet of civilian group investigations
. They all occurred between midday and 9 pm, on October 21st. Six occurred in Victoria, one on King Island, and the rest in New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia. These reports seemed to confirm that something quite unusual was abroad that extraordinary day.
A strange series of photos taken out over Bass Strait, by Roy Manifold, a plumber on holidays at Crayfish Bay, near Apollo Bay, only some 20 minutes before Valentich began describing his encounter, revealed something unusual. He had taken 6 photos of the setting sun. He saw nothing untoward, with the camera set to automatically take the photo series, but upon development the fourth and sixth photos revealed apparent anomalies. The fourth photo showed what looked like a dense "black lump" in the water, giving the impression of something rising from the water
. The fifth photo appeared normal. The sixth shows a strange mass situated in the sky directly over the position of the anomaly in the fourth photo, which looked like an object caught in flight with a possible exhaust or trail of material. Film faults and processing defects were ruled out
. The RAAF suggested a cumulus cloud breaking up, but the timing of the exposures would have required the "cloud" to have moved into view at a speed of up to 200 mph. Now that's some cloud for what was a calm day!