Shortly after noon on April 21, 1952, hundreds of people in southern Ontario reported spotting a "dark, cylindrical object," travelling at high speed and high altitude, emitting a distinctive vapor trail. The craft was first spotted over Toronto, Ontario, but within minutes, London Airport officials saw it flying overhead. Local military officials immediately set out to investigate. According to the London Free Press:
...Fighter aircraft from No. 428 Squadron attempted to intercept the UFO, but it quickly left them behind. The Mustang fighter pilots pushed their craft to speeds of 450 miles an hour in the futile chase.
The incident occured exactly a week after a disk-shaped UFO had been observed over North Bay Air Force Base. The sighting had triggered statements from public officials confirming the government's recognition of the UFO enigma. In this instance, however, RCAF Headquarters in Ottawa stated that the object was a British Canberra bomber, on a high speed flight from Montreal to Omaha, Nebraska. The aircraft, one of the fastest at that time, reportedly landed at Offut Air Force Base in Omaha at 1:05 PM Eastern Standard Time.
Most military personnel who had actually witnessed the sighting disagreed with the official RCAF statements. Wing Commander A. D. Haylett, Officer Commanding No. 420 City of London Rescue Squadron, was of the opinion that the object was travelling abouttwo thousand miles per hour! . He stated:
I'm pretty firm in the opinion that it couldn't have been an aircraft. Not at that speed. I've never been a believer in flying saucers, but I'm pretty sure now there's something going on around this planet that we should be paying lots of attention to.
Another RCAF officer, who requested anonymity, doubted that the Canberra, flying at top speed with a strong tail wind, could even approach a speed of a thousand miles per hour.
The RCAF failed to explain why the order was given to scramble jet fighters and to try and intercept the unidentified craft. Presumably, the instructions came as a result of fruitless efforts by the military to establish radio contact with the UFO. Normally civilian air traffic would respond to identification requests from the military. Furthermore, the reported time of sighting over Toronto would not have corresponded with the passage of the Canberra over the City. The craft was spotted over Toronto shortly after noon, while the Canberra reportedly arrived at Omaha less than one hour later. To accept the RCAF explanation, the Canberra would have had to cover the thousand-mile distance between the two cities in less than an hour (at a speed exceeding a thousand miles per hour). But the Canberra's maximum cruiding speed is six hundred miles per hour.
More evidence supporting the UFO theory came from other people who had spotted UFOs over Toronto on that same day. The London Free Press reported:
One resident reported seeing about fifty lights in a V-formation moving rapidly from southeast to northwest. He said the lights were dim orange and appeared to be a great hight, He heard no sound.