US airman John Burroughs has successfully secured a settlement from the U.S. government after falling ill following an encounter with a UFO.
A former Ministry of Defence (MoD) officer has claimed that the payout confirms that the UFO exists and caused him actual harm.
Mr Burroughs put forward a declassified report as evidence he had been injured during the event on Boxing Day 1980.
He said disability coverage from the US Veteran’s Association offered “some closure”, but that he now wanted unrestricted access to his full medical records.
“Every step along the way people have said it’s not true. Some people will always say that.
“I don’t know if I have the full answer, but no one thought I’d get this far,” said the ex-servicemen. Along with Jim Penniston, he was the first to investigate mysterious lights near the East Gate of RAF Woodbridge.
Theories included the glow of Orfordness Lighthouse, an elaborate hoax and a secret classified aircraft.
Lawyer Pat Frascogna, who represented the retired technical sergeant, said: “This excludes the bogus explanations put out there over the years. I cannot underscore what a major development this is. We’re more curious now than ever.
“We were denied access to records, mainly dating back to 1979, which we believe would have shown John had no health problems when he entered the air force, but that he developed heart problems and other ailments that arose from the incident.”
In fighting his case, Mr Burroughs used a declassified study code-named Project Condign, in which Rendlesham is described as an event where it “might be postulated that several observers were probably exposed to Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) radiation.”
Mr Frascogna said: “Condign specifically mentions the incident and how radiation from unidentified aerial phenomena could cause injury.
“John was able to furnish that document, and another dating back to the incident, when a radiation reading found levels to be significantly higher than normal.”
Mr Burroughs, who suffers heart problems and has a pacemaker, said: “I’m very happy we finally have some closure.
“Condign explained that there is a phenomenon that governments of this world are well aware of. The question is where it comes from.”
Four years ago, the MoD released 35 archives of UFO-related documents but then revealed that papers on Rendlesham had gone missing. Mr Burroughs believes the missing files may reveal further clues.
Nick Pope, author of Encounter in Rendlesham Forest: The Inside Story of the World’s Best-Documented UFO Incident, worked on the government’s UFO desk in the early 1990s.
He said: “After years of denial this is official confirmation that what they encountered was real, and caused them physical harm.
“This welcome development doesn’t give us a definitive explanation of the Rendlesham Forest incident, but it takes us ever closer to the truth.”