Army officials say they still don’t know how a high-tech military blimp designed to detect a missile attacks came loose, wreaking havoc as it floated from Maryland into Pennsylvania. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
Military investigates cause for runaway blimp
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
The U.S. military said on Thursday (October 29) they still don’t know why a high-tech U.S. military blimp designed to detect a missile attack came loose on Wednesday and wreaked havoc as it floated from Maryland into Pennsylvania.
“There will be full safety investigation that will commence as early as today. We have safety personnel on site and we have more safety investigators on-coming,” said Captain Matthew Villa, from the Army Air and Missile Defense Command.
The blimp, dragging its 10,000-foot-long (3.04 km) cable behind it, knocked out power to thousands of residents before coming down several hours later in Montour County, Pennsylvania.
“We’ve identified two sites where the wreckage is. There’s the main body which is at one site, and then several hundred meters away is the tail section. From what I understand, most of the wreckage is intact,” said Captain Villa.
The U.S. military scrambled two armed F-16 fighter jets to keep watch as the blimp traveled into civilian airspace after coming loose shortly after mid-day from its mooring station at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, a U.S. Army facility 40 miles northeast of Baltimore.
PPL Electric Utilities Corp said that as of 3:45 p.m. (1945 GMT) there were about 17,800 customers without power.
The blimp is known as the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System and was part of a $2.8 billion development project.