Fighter jets tracked blimp drifting over Pennsylvania - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Fighter jets tracked blimp drifting over Pennsylvania

Fighter jets tracked blimp drifting over Pennsylvania

File Photo File Photo
File Photo File Photo
  • Related LinksMore>>

  • The Latest: Official says blimp's tail ready for removal

    The Latest: Official says blimp's tail ready for removal

    Thursday, October 29 2015 3:23 PM EDT2015-10-29 19:23:23 GMT
    Thursday, October 29 2015 3:23 PM EDT2015-10-29 19:23:22 GMT
    MUNCY, Pa. - The latest on an unmanned Army surveillance blimp that broke loose from its ground tether at a military base in Maryland and drifted over central Pennsylvania.
    MUNCY, Pa. - The latest on an unmanned Army surveillance blimp that broke loose from its ground tether at a military base in Maryland and drifted over central Pennsylvania.

UPDATE:

MUNCY, Pa. (AP) — The latest on an unmanned Army surveillance blimp that broke loose from its ground tether at a military base in Maryland on Wednesday and drifted over central Pennsylvania.

4:10 p.m.

Pennsylvania state police say a military blimp that broke loose in Maryland and drifted over Pennsylvania is on the ground and secure.

Bob Reese, a state police spokesman in Montoursville, says it came down in the area of Muncy, near Williamsport.

The blimp caused about 18,000 power outages. Columbia County chief clerk Gail Kipp says the blimp dragged its tether line, which took out power lines and caused widespread outages.

The unmanned Army surveillance blimp broke loose from its ground tether at a military base and drifted over central Pennsylvania as fighter jets tracked it. The aircraft is known as a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System and can be used as part of a missile defense system.

It's not clear how the blimp came loose.

___

3:35 p.m.

A county official in northeastern Pennsylvania says a blimp on the loose over the state has caused widespread power outages.

Columbia County chief clerk Gail Kipp says the blimp is dragging its tether line, which is taking out power lines and causing widespread outages.

About 18,000 customers were out of power.

Bloomsburg University cancelled classes for the day because of the outage.

Residents around the county have been tweeting photos and video of the blimp seemingly getting lower and lower to the ground.

The unmanned Army surveillance blimp broke loose from its ground tether at a military base in Maryland on Wednesday and drifted over central Pennsylvania as two Air Force fighter jets tracked it.

___

2 p.m.

The Pentagon said Wednesday that U.S. fighter jets were tracking an unmanned Army surveillance blimp that tore loose from its ground tether in Maryland and drifted north over Pennsylvania.

Details were sketchy, but a statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado said the blimp detached from its station at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, at about 12:20 p.m. EDT.

Two F-16 fighter jets from the Atlantic City Air National Guard Base in New Jersey were monitoring the craft, which was traveling north at an altitude of about 16,000 feet.

FAA officials were working with the military to ensure air traffic safety in the area.

The aircraft is known as a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System and can be used as part of a missile defense system.

It was not immediately clear how the blimp came loose.

----------------------------

WASHINGTON (AP) - An unmanned Army surveillance blimp broke loose from its ground tether at a military base in Maryland on Wednesday and drifted over central Pennsylvania as two Air Force fighter jets tracked it. The blimp's long tether snapped power lines, causing outages.

Pentagon officials said the blimp was descending.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado said the blimp detached from its station at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, at about 12:20 p.m., and initially traveled north at an altitude of about 16,000 feet.

State police in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, confirmed they had been getting 911 calls about blimp sightings, but they could not provide additional details.

Witnesses reported seeing the blimp drifting between Jerseytown and Turbotville, a sparsely area north of Harrisburg. Its tether was snapping power lines.

The local electric utility, PPL, reported about 20,000 customers without power in the area, although it was unclear how many could be attributed to the blimp. Bloomsburg University canceled classes, citing a "widespread power outage."

The blimp is the kind used extensively in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to provide ground surveillance around U.S. bases and other sensitive sites.

"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," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a brief exchange with reporters at the Pentagon. "This happens in bad weather."

Carter did not say what the two F-16 fighters tracking the runaway blimp might be asked to do or whether he considered it a threat to aviation.

The F-16s were launched from the Atlantic City Air National Guard Base in New Jersey, according to the NORAD statement.

FAA officials were working with the military to ensure air traffic safety.

The aircraft is known as a Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System , or JLENS, and can be used as part of a missile defense system.wb

It was not immediately clear how the blimp came loose.

___

Associated Press writers Kristen De Groot and AP photo stringer Jimmy May in Pennsylvania contributed to this report.

Powered by Frankly