A spate of mysterious drone swarms in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming have authorities scratching their heads. The drones, sometimes numbering thirty or more, have been spotted at night since December 2019. Authorities say the drones are flying in a grid-like pattern and appear to be mapping the land.
The first report occurred on December 20, 2019 in Phillips County, Colorado. Police issued an alert to local residents:
“We are aware of and have been investigating the multiple reports of drone sightings in the county over the last week. Deputies were out all night this evening along with Yuma County SO tracking these drones. Tonight, we tracked over 16 drones between the two counties…
The Sheriff’s Office is following up on leads and communications with state and federal agencies to pinpoint the exact nature to their activities. As more information comes available, we will keep you informed. If any of these drones fly onto your property or are looking into windows, please call the communications center immediately so a deputy can respond to your location. If you happen to come into possession of one of these drones, please contact the Sheriff’s Office so we can conduct a forensic evaluation of the drone to identify the owners and take the appropriate actions.”
One Phillips County citizen reported seeing white SUVs “running the country roads” with “some kind of antenna on the rear”, seemingly chasing the drones.
The drones appear around 7 o’clock and fly for 3-4 hours about 200-300 feet in the air. Phillips County Sheriff Thomas Elliott told the Denver Post:
“They’ve been doing a grid search, a grid pattern. They fly one square and then they fly another square.”
Some reports say the drones have been spotted over locations believed to house nuclear missile silos. Others say they have been seen flying in unincorporated areas of the state. Representatives for the Air Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the US Army Forces Command all said the drones did not belong to their organizations.
No clear photos have been taken of the drones yet, but experts say this is to be expected. Small drones are impossible to photograph in the night sky, especially at high altitudes. They also have a low metal content so normal radar is unable to pick them up.
The drones have a wingspan of around 6-feet, large for consumer-grade drones. The number of drones in the swarm lead authorities to believe the operation is the work of a large organization rather than a lone individual. So far no one has come forward to claim responsibility.
A federal task force has been formed to investigate the drones’ origin and purpose.