posted on May, 11 2011 @ 06:02 PM
SIERRA VISTA - The US Air Force confirming that strong winds took down a Tethered Aerostat Radar System that was hovering over Fort Huachuca Monday
afternoon. The Aerostat is an unmanned surveillance device used along the border to interdict illegal drug flow. The air drug interdiction program
consists of land-based blimps.
Shortly after the blimp came crashing down in the Canyon Del Flores neighborhood work crews quickly cut apart the large, tangled, mass of material
that covered local streets in several areas. They loaded up more than a dozen pickup trucks to haul away what they could. Colonel Timothy Faulkner,
Garrison Commander at Fort Huachuca said, "Right now we have about 10 sites and we're still searching and looking but as people come home I'm sure
we'll get more calls throughout the night."
Just after 1:00 pm the sound of a blimp crashing down on Christopher Peacock's house sent him running outside to investigate. "I didn't know what
the noise was, it did startle me because it was a big cracking noise like something broke on my roof or something." Said Peacock.
There was no apparent damage to his roof, but his Peacock's new BMW was scratched all over.
Officials tell News4 Tucson that there were injuries reported and only minor damage to a couple of homes.
Several heavy pieces of machinery came crashing down in the backyard of one home near the base. The homeowner told News4 Tucson that the Department of
Defense threatened to confiscate her cell phone if she took any pictures of the materials. That woman declined to talk on camera because her husband
works for the Government and he was afraid he would lose his security clearance if they spoke on the record.
Many in Sierra Vista are questioning why the blimp was flying on such a windy day, telling News4 Tucson they usually only see it on calm days. "The
Air force Investigative team will come here and they will primarily start doing that assessment in the next 24 hours of why it was flying, or why it
broke lose." Said Colonel Faulkner.
Commander Daryl Copp of the Sierra Vista Police Department called the incident, "A freak accident." "Certainly nobody could determine this was
going to happen today, nobody could determine the winds going to be blowing the right direction. I mean, they have that up as a matter of national
security I suppose." Said Commander Copp.
One of the largest, heaviest pieces of equipment crashed into a backyard on Windmill Court. Army soldiers secured the site and Air Force
investigators will haul the top secret material away as soon as possible.
The Aerostat Radar System is run by the Air Force, but the missions are conducted by the Department of Homeland Security.
I live in Sierra Vista and I'm glad that thing was taken down. I felt like I had no privacy to do things with it up. It's known around here that it
was able to read drivers licenses from it's airspace at 10,000ft. I don't think it was used for observing drug smuggling operations near the border,
I think it's testing and training on Ft. Huachuca for "spying" on people.
I think there's a bigger conspiracy going on here though. Army was quick to be on scene and guard the "Top Secret" material, and everyone was
advised by news and radio to *not* get near or touch the material. We have also had much higher winds than yesterday and the blimp has never gone
down. We've had such strong winds on the mountains that one of our ham radio antennas thick metal mast was ripped right in half and ended up as sharp
Anyone else have anything to add? I know some people from Ft. Huachuca observe these boards.