Update on Kinross / Great Lakes Dive Company Case
James Carrion, MUFON International Director to B J Booth
Update on the 1953 Kinross UFO Event
The recent claim by the “Great Lakes Dive Company” (GLDC) to have found the U.S. Air Force F89C Scorpion Jet that disappeared in 1953 over Lake Superior while in pursuit of a UFO, created quite a stir of excitement in the UFO community, as reported last month in the Journal.
Unfortunately, based on an in-depth investigation conducted by MUFON investigators, Great Lakes Dive’s claims cannot be substantiated.
MUFON’s investigation began with attempting to answer the basic questions – Is GLDC a valid company? Who are the principals of the company? What is their corporate history?
Since GLDC claimed to be a Michigan-based corporation, our inquiry began with a telephone call to the Michigan Division of Corporations which did not have any record of a company incorporated under or operating under the name “Great Lakes Dive Company.” When GLDC spokesperson Adam Jimenez was questioned about this, he said in an email sent on September 19, 2006:
“GLDC is in the process of switching from an incorporated company to an LLC organization. We began as just a group of divers who would get together with our sonar equipment and sweep locations in the great lakes. As it became apparent that we would need to develop a business entity to interact with museums, obtain grants etc, we formed a company early on. Once the group downsized and became more focused with regards to who was involved, the main group members decided to form GLDC LLC, to better manage the direction of the company. This entity is still pending, and not yet available to public records.”
However, in an earlier email sent on September 6, 2006 to MUFON investigator David Watson, Mr. Jimenez contradicted his later statement by saying:
“Incidentally our company name is Great Lakes Dive Company (not Inc.) we are technically an LLC. (just for accuracy sake). We are in the process of putting together a "formal" office, and will give you the mailing address when available.”
Mr. Jimenez also refused to reveal who the principals of the company were, the company’s operating structure, or the types of marine vessels used in their search, citing recent security threats made against them. When asked about the nature of these threats, Mr. Jimenez stated:
“Threats were made regarding the salvage of the object, essentially ‘tell us where it's at or else...’ The individuals represented themselves as producers for the Discovery Channel.
We made a few calls, found out the group was fraudulent and told them we no longer were interested in any future dealings with them...that's when the threats started. As a security precaution we changed all phone numbers associated with GLDC and have not included any company or personal information (like background info on the team) on any interviews.
Until this situation (returning to the object) is resolved we will not be providing any further information on the project or the team.”
MUFON later discovered that Mr. Jimenez had provided a cell phone number to various film makers and researchers, but switched to a new cell phone number soon after the threats were made. When MUFON tried to trace either phone number through Intelius.com, both phone numbers proved to be untraceable.
Since trying to confirm GLDC’s corporate identity led to a dead end, MUFON then attempted to corroborate some of the other claims made by GLDC.
Mr. Jimenez claimed that GLDC was founded in 2001 for the purpose of shipwreck exploration and discovery and with the goal of solving the enduring mysteries of lost vessels in Lake Superior.
In addition to the F89 find, GLDC claimed that they were searching for the French minesweepers Cerisoles and Inkermann, and that they were interested in filming in high definition the wreck of the Gunilda. Mr. Jimenez was quoted in an August 29, 2006 article in the American Chronicle:
"2006 began as an ambitious project season for us, we were looking forward to further work at the F-89 site", said Jimenez. He added, "Then we received some bad news. The Canadian government refused to allow us to use our ROV at the wreck site without first providing them the GPS coordinates of the site and allow either a Coast Guard escort or government official to accompany the expedition.
We were stuck, we don't want to give up the site (especially because of the object, and it's potentially huge significance) but we need to stay on the good side of the Canadians due to our Gunilda project which involves a lot of other contributors."
MUFON contacted the Ontario Ministry of Culture and spoke with Mr. Michael Johnson, manager of the ministry's Heritage Operations Unit, whose office issues work permits for survey or exploration work in Lake Superior.
Mr. Johnson told MUFON that no one had requested a permit for exploring or surveying the F89 jet or “mystery object,” nor had his office received any related correspondence. Mr. Johnson further revealed that the Ministry would not require a coast guard vessel or government official to accompany any expedition, but would allow the licensee to work under their own cognizance, and that the wreck’s GPS coordinates did not have to be provided up front as long as they were included in a final survey report.
On Coast to Coast with George Noory, Linda Moulton Howe played an interview she recorded with Adam Jimenez where he stated that Canada automatically claims ownership of any wrecks in Canadian territorial waters.
However, Mr. Putt from the office of the Ontario Receiver of Wrecks told MUFON that the original owner of the wreck (ship, plane, etc.) maintains ownership and would have to grant salvage permission--the F89 would therefore still be considered U.S. Air Force property. Mr. Putt elaborated by stating that if a wreck’s owner is not known, which would possibly be the case for the “mystery object,” then the Ontario Provincial Government would become the custodian for a year, and if the original owner could not be found, then the Ontario Receiver of Wrecks could sell it to the salvor or to the public.
In the same Coast to Coast interview, Linda Moulton Howe stated that Adam Jimenez graduated in 1990 from Kettering Technical School (run by General Motors) with a degree in Computer Engineering. MUFON contacted the registrar’s office at Kettering University (which had changed its name in 1998) and Becky Ibbotson, registrar assistant, related that no one by the name of Adam Jimenez had ever attended Kettering.
Giving GLDC the benefit of the doubt, MUFON posted messages to the public message boards on Scubaboard.com asking if anyone from the Ontario dive community knew GLDC or of any of the exploration work they had performed prior to 2006. After hundreds of viewings, no one could provide any information to shed light on GLDC’s claims.
MUFON also contacted Tom Farnquist, CEO of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, whose organization has been actively searching for the Cerisoles and Inkermann. Mr. Farnquist heard of GLDC’s F89 claims from a local newspaper article, but had not heard of any of their other exploration work.
The Soo Evening News wrote an article on GLDC’s claims, and mistakenly attributed the F89 find to the Great Lakes Diving Company of Rockford, Michigan. MUFON verified with the Rockford company owner that his company has no connection with GLDC.
MUFON sent copies of GLDC’s F89 side scan sonar images to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and a Woods Hole scientist, who wishes to remain anonymous, offered his professional opinion that they do not appear to be side scan sonar images but photographs that were altered with computer software to look like side scan sonar images.
MUFON also contacted a professor at Michigan Tech University, who also wishes to remain anonymous, who stated that although the GLDC images looked to him like genuine side scan sonar images, they could have been fabricated by a dedicated person.
When Mr. Jimenez was asked whether a ROV was deployed and how GLDC was able to confirm that the mystery object was not radioactive, he responded via email with:
“We did lower the ROV on the initial discovery (because we knew the risk existed that we may not be able to return to the site). We haven't been able to use the ROV on the site since (or return to the site at all for that matter) this season...we had hoped to use the ROV to further explore the site in 2006.
Weather issues in 2005 prevented us from thoroughly exploring the wreck(s). The confusion is that the accounts are talking about two different dive seasons.
We used a DX-1 hand held Geiger counter that was placed into a sealed chamber within the ROV and the speaker output was patched into the audio input of the digital camera on the ROV.
We had to get the ROV close to the object to make sure the reading was accurate...however the efficiency rating of the DX-1 is not 100%, but we were satisfied that it was not radiation causing our electronic problems. We made the metallic determination based on visual evidence from the ROV.”
Mr. Jimenez’s statement alludes to GLDC illegally operating their ROV in Canadian waters without a properly issued license and contradicts his previous assertion that “we need to stay on the good side of the Canadians due to our Gunilda project”.
It is not clear as to how the Geiger counter was “patched” to the audio-input on the ROV’s camera, as DX-1 Geiger counters do not have an audio-out jack, but only an internal speaker.
In a recent Journal of UFO History article on GLDC’s claims, editor Dick Hall writes that:
“In answer to questions from editor, Adam Jimenez of Great Lakes Dive Company said that they had not yet found any positive identification such as a serial number” (on the F89).
However, in a September 11, 2006 email to MUFON International Director James Carrion, Mr. Jimenez contradicted this statement to Dick Hall by saying:
“The ROV confirmed that the canopy is intact, but we were unable to see inside due to silt and the translucent nature of the canopy. One would assume the crew is still inside. Yes the aircraft tail number is visible on the F-89c...this is how we were able to confirm that we had found the actual F-89 and not some other aircraft.” MUFON then investigated how and when GLDC’s claims were first made public. The earliest known account MUFON could find was an Aug. 22, 2006, posting to the UFO Updates mailing list where a certain “Preston Miller” forwarded to Francis Ridge what appeared to be a Port Huron, MI, Associated Press (AP) news article on GLDC’s claims.
Francis told MUFON that he does not know who Preston Miller is. Checking with the Port Huron Times Herald, an authorized AP news source in Port Huron, managing editor Judith McClean told MUFON that her newspaper did not originate the article.
MUFON also contacted the Associated Press Michigan Bureau in Detroit and spoke with Joe Altman.
Mr. Altman looked at the UFO Update article online and said that it was not written in the characteristic style of an AP press report, as it lacked any date references. Mr. Altman also searched all AP news feeds and could not find any information that would indicate AP was the source for the article.
On September 26, GLDC’s web site content at www.greatlakesdive.com was removed and is no longer available. A week later, the GLDC message board that was hosted by excoboard.com was also unavailable.
Performing an Internet Whois query of the greatlakesdive.com Internet domain name revealed that the domain name registrar is Melbourne IT Ltd, a company based in Australia.
Thinking that GLDC’s claims may be related to the recent Australian UFO wave videos that were revealed to be a hoax, MUFON contacted the UFO wave perpetrator, Chris Kentworthy, who denied any involvement or knowledge of GLDC.
Searching the Internet revealed various security bulletins warning that some fraudulent web sites use this same Melbourne IT Ltd registrar and the related myprivateregistration.com service.
Mr. Jimenez is currently not responding to emails or phone calls.
In summary, MUFON after many hours of investigation by a number of our dedicated field investigators has not been able to substantiate any of GLDC’s claims. Until GLDC personnel resurface with more information and definitive proof of the F89 discovery, their claims remain doubtful at this time.
MUFON will continue its investigation and update our readers as further developments unfold.
James P Carrion in response to B J Booth, webmaster, www.ufocasebook.com
MUFON International Director
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