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UFO news collector Luis Altamirano has passed away

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 5 oct 2020, 10:04 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 23 feb 2021, 11:13 ]
At 23:35 on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, and a few days before he turned 76, ufologist Luis Altamirano passed away due to a pneumonia. He was one of the pioneers of UFO research in Chile and had spent years living in a nursing home in Santiago.
In this late seventies or early eighties picture, Luis Altamirano (the second from left to right)  enjoys during a meeting of the CIO, one of the first UFO groups that existed in Chile, aling with Aquiles Castillo, Luis Riquelme and Juan Castillo, among others.

(Source: IIEE Chile)

In the photograph, taken probably in the eighties, a smiling Luis Altamirano is at the center. To his right is Hugo Pacheco, another Chilean UFO research's pioneer who already passed away.

(Source: IIEE Chile)

A more recent picture of Luis Altamirano.

(Source: Rodrigo Bravo)
In the UFO community it is possible to find the most diverse characters, some of them very endearing and who are remembered due to their peculiar characteristics, and Luis Altamirano was one of them, as he stood out as a great searcher and compiler of press clippings and magazine articles about UFOs and other subjects.

Short in stature, with a face dominated by a prominent nose and protruding ears, Altamirano was always characterized by his humility and generosity, since he selflessly helped more than one generation of ufologists with information. 

Reserved and generous 

Luis Bernardo Altamirano Cañoles was born in Valdivia, in Southern Chile, on September 13, 1944, and was raised and educated in Osorno. His interest in the UFO phenomenon began  during his early teenage years, when the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik in 1957 made a deep impression on him and made him turn his eyes to the sky and wonder about the mysteries of Man and the Universe.

As a result of this hobby, the boy began to cut out and collect newspaper and magazine articles that addressed the topic of “flying saucers”, as they were known at that time.

In 1965, Altamirano left his homeland to settle in Santiago and spent most of his free time searching in the National Library for newspaper articles which addressed the subject of unidentified flying objects.

“He had qualities that are very rare in the world of ufologists, that is, he was humble, he knew how to listen, he was reserved in his own way and he also had a commendable memory,” wrote about him Raúl Núñez Gálvez, who met and spent some time with Altamirano on several opportunities.

And Núñez is right , since those who knew Luis Altamirano knew of his rather introverted personality, of his permanent listening and disinterested collaboration. In addition, Luis had diction difficultes, which forced his interlocutors to put all the attention in his words in order to understand what he was saying. 

“The Nibelung” 

In 1978, the late ufologist Hugo Pacheco created the UFO Research Center (CIO, for its Spanish acronym) along with Aquiles Castillo, Luis Riquelme and Alberto Montenegro, among others, and Luis Altamirano was also one of the founders of said group.

Years later, in the mid-nineties, Aquiles Castillo founded another group of people interested in the UFO phenomenon called OVNI-Chile, in which Altamirano also participated along with other members such as Carlos Muñoz Brito, Claudio Chandía, Lucy Quezada and Ernesto Giraud.

It is said that the late ufologist Jorge Anfruns Dumont coined the nickname with which he was known until today, “El Nibelungo” (“The Nibelung”), after the dwarves of Germanic mythology who lived in the bowels of the Earth, a nickname that Luis Altamirano took with humor.

On November 25, 2009, Altamirano published as co-author with journalist and writer Juan Guillermo Prado the book Historia de la ufología en Chile and also collaborated in the dossier “Ufology in Chile”, coordinated by Diego Zúñiga and published in 2002 in Cuadernos de Ufología of the Anomalía Foundation, in Spain. 

Sunset in “Las Rosas” 

For several decades, Luis Altamirano worked in a food processing company. In the same factory where he worked, he lived in a modest room where, afflicted by compulsive hoarding, he was surrounded by all sorts of junk and papers that he collected.

In 2006, a couple of years after turning sixty, Luis suffered a thrombosis that prevented him from continuing to work. Since he had no family or close friends, he donated a large part of his UFO documents collection to Raúl Núñez and ended up in a nursing home run by Las Rosas Foundation, where he lived until today and welcomed with joy the acquaintances who visited him and that still remember him with affection and gratitude.

In 2020, Luis got the Coronavirus during the Covid-19 pandemic that the planet is going through, but he recovered from the disease.

At the end of July, a video was released on social networks reporting an important donation from the Charlie Clark Foundation in Chile to help feed families during the pandemic, and part of that donation was destined to the Las Rosas Foundation home where Luis lived, thanks to the intervention of Rodrigo Fuenzalida Herrera, who in addition to being a well-known ufologist in Chile is the operations manager of the Charlie Clark Foundation in Chile.

Shortly thereafter, on August 15 and 16, 2020, several ufologists and groups organized a virtual national ufology event, a solidarity day for the benefit of Luis Altamirano, which generated a great deal of interest among followers of the UFO subject.

But, despite beating Coronavirus, Luis's health was fragile after suffering a second thrombosis and he finally left the earthly existence at night on September 8 at El Salvador Hospital in Santiago.

His mortal remains were to be buried in the Metropolitan Cemetery between September 9 and 10 and the news about his death, spread through social networks by Rodrigo Bravo, Rodrigo Fuenzalida and other acquaintances, caused deep regret in the Chilean UFO community.