There’s something strange happening in the skies over Colorado, and authorities are about ready to throw in the towel.
For several days in a row, Coloradans have been treated to a vast and coordinated aerial display that no one is taking credit for.
A band of large drones appears to be flying nighttime search patterns over northeast Colorado — and local authorities say they don’t know who’s behind the mysterious aircraft.
The drones, estimated to have six-foot wingspans, have been flying over Phillips and Yuma counties every night for about the last week, Phillips County Sheriff Thomas Elliott said Monday.
The drones stay about 200 feet to 300 feet in the air and fly steadily in squares of about 25 miles, he said. There are at least 17 drones; they emerge each night around 7 p.m. and disappear around 10 p.m., he said.
“They’ve been doing a grid search, a grid pattern,” he said. “They fly one square and then they fly another square.”
Here’s where it gets spooky:
The sheriff’s office can’t explain where the drones are coming from or who is flying them. The estimated size and number of drones makes it unlikely that they’re being flown by hobbyists, Undersheriff William Myers said.
The Federal Aviation Administration told the sheriff’s office that it had no information on the drones, and the U.S. Air Force said the aircraft aren’t theirs, Elliott said.
A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration told The Denver Post on Monday that the drones aren’t operated by the agency. A spokesman for the FAA said that agency likely has no information on them. Drone pilots aren’t required to file flight plans, unless they’re flying in controlled airspace, like near an airport.
Officials with the Air Force and the Department of Defense did not immediately return The Post’s requests for comment on the mystery aircraft Monday. U.S. Army Forces Command spokesman John Boyce said Monday he was not aware of any training involving military drones in that area.
Local authorities are warning residents not to attempt to shoot down the drones, as this is both illegal and highly dangerous, given the volatility of the machines’ batteries.
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