In total, there were 62 children outside of the school at the time, and most of the teachers were inside the school at a meeting. It was reported that only one adult was supervising the recess that morning, a mother of one of the children. She operated a snack bar for the students, selling soft drinks, candies, and other favorites.
There had been reports of UFOs in the skies over Zimbabwe only two days before, but it is unlikely that any of the students were aware of these reports. Ariel was a private elementary school, hosting students of all backgrounds. Several of the children stated that they had seen three unknown flying objects in the skies over the school prior to the landing. Students saw the UFOs disappear then reappear in a different place in the sky. Finally, at least one of the UFOs either landed, or hovered just above the ground.
The UFO was only about 100 meters from the students at play. The object was in a heavily wooded area, which was off limits to the students for safety concerns. Soon, what the students described as a "small man" could be seen on the top of the UFO. The occupant of the craft was described as being about one meter (3 ft.) tall, with a slender neck, long black hair, and very large eyes. He walked down the craft, and proceeded in the direction of the children.
When he noticed the children, he disappeared, and was next seen in the back of the UFO. Within moments, the craft took off, vanishing into the sky over the school. Many of the children were understandably frightened, the little man had evoked many stories they had heard about demons and ghosts. Some of the children ran to the mother who was attending the snack bar, but she did not believe their story, and continued with her duties.
Two of Ufology's most respected investigators researched the Ariel School sighting. Cynthia Hind, now deceased, was known as Africa's top notch researcher, and she was at the school the next day. She requested the school's headmaster, Colin Mackie, to ask the children to make drawings of what they had seen the day before. When Hind arrived at the school, there were some 35 various drawings and sketches waiting for her. They were very similar in their depictions of the craft and being.
Mackie told Hind that she felt the children were telling the truth about what they had seen. One of the students, a young girl, told Hind, "I swear by every hair on my head and the whole Bible that I am telling the truth."
Also, Dr. John Mack, along with researcher Dominique Callimanopulos visited Ruwa. The two men spent two days doing interviews with 12 of the children and their parents. A few of the older students related that they felt they had communicated with the craft's occupants. They were informed that we were were destroying Earth by polluting it, and unless we changed our ways, we would face a failing planet.
The Ruwa, Zimbabwe school sighting soon became news around the world, and was the subject of an episode of TV's "Sightings." Numerous interviews with witnesses have been released on the Internet, and it is considered one of the best "close encounter" cases in UFO history.