June 24, 1947: Kenneth Arnold, an American aviator and businessman, claims to have spotted a string of nine shiny, unidentified flying objects flying past Mount Rainier in Washington at a speed of 1,932 km/hr. The sighting garnered nationwide news coverage and is credited with being the first of the modern era of UFO sightings.
Arnold’s description of the objects also led to the popular moniker “flying saucer”, although the US Air Force formally listed the case as a mirage. After his UFO sighting, Arnold became a minor celebrity and interviewed other UFO witnesses, as well as writing a book about his sighting and subsequent research. In a 1950 interview he said: “I am inclined to believe it’s of an extraterrestrial origin”, but he added: “I don’t think it’s anything for people to get hysterical about.”
Also on June 24:
- In history: 1948 – the start of the Berlin Blockade, in which the Soviet Union makes overland travel between West Germany and West Berlin impossible.
- In technology: 1963 – the first home video recorder, the Telcan, is demonstrated in London. It has a capacity of 20 minutes of black and white footage.
- In sport: 2010 – American John Isner defeats Nicolas Mahut of France at Wimbledon, in the longest match in professional tennis history, clocking in at 11 hours, 5 minutes of play and a total of 183 games.
Born on June 24:
- 1893 – Roy O. Disney, American businessman and co-founder of The Walt Disney Company, along with his younger brother Walt.
- 1901 – Chuck Taylor, an American basketball player and shoe salesman, designer and spokesman for Converse All Stars.
- 1987 – Lionel Messi, Argentinian footballer and captain of the country’s national team.