By John Vibes
One of the two military surveillance blimps that hover over the city of Baltimore and surrounding suburbs broke free this week and sailed all the way to Moreland Township, Pennsylvania, over 160 miles away.
The blimp drifted across the country for over four hours until it eventually crashed in central Pennsylvania. During the hunt, two F-16 fighter jets from an Air National Guard base in Atlantic City, N.J. were sent to chase after the blimp when it was reported lost.
While the blimp was loose, the 6,700-foot-long cable that connects it to the ground was hanging under it, causing damage to anything that got in its way.
“Anyone who sees the aerostat is advised to contact 911 immediately. People are warned to keep a safe distance from the airship and tether as contact with them may present significant danger,” Aberdeen Proving Ground spokeswoman Heather Roelker said during the search.
The blimp reportedly reached an altitude of 16,000 feet before eventually becoming deflated and crashing into the woods. The blimp also took out power lines, and according to the local utility company, over 20,000 people lost power.
When the blimp hit the ground, police, federal agents, and emergency vehicles had shut down the entire town to be sure that they recovered the blimp before anyone else did.
No one is exactly sure what the precious cargo on board these blimps includes, and while many are concerned about surveillance, the military insists that they are not spy blimps, but are intended to detect incoming missiles.
“My understanding is, from having seen these break loose in Afghanistan on a number of occasions, we could get it to descend and then we’ll recover it and put it back up. This happens in bad weather,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a press statement.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said his office was “closely monitoring the situation” and that the state’s emergency crews will be helping to recover the wreckage.
“The Governor’s Office is in communication with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania State Police, the National Guard, and the appropriate authorities with the federal government. We will work with the appropriate authorities to respond to any resource requests and assist in any way possible,” Wolf said.
The blimps reportedly took 17 years of research and came at a cost of over $2 billion.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter-culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work, he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.