Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daria Anderson-Faden
The Observer 

In The Dark About The Drones

Whatever They Are, They're Flying Over Us; Much Speculation Regards Military

 

January 9, 2020

Scotts Bluff County Sheriff's Department / KOWB-AM 1290

The Scotts Bluff County Sheriff's Department posted this image Tuesday on Facebook with a report from a Wyoming radio station possibly linking the region's mystery drones to F.E. Warren Air Force Base. Many government officials say they don't know what's going on with the drones.

The mystery of the drones in Colorado, Nebraska and now Kansas continues. The sighting of drones has all the area up in arms. Where are they from, who is flying them and, of course, why?

Beginning about Dec. 20 and continuing to the present, there appear to be sightings almost every night from Grand Island to Morgan County, Colorado.

That includes this past week in the Dix and Clean Harbors areas of Kimball County – and on Monday, Jan 6, night sightings were reported in the Scotts Bluff County area. The information is very fluid and changes nightly.

The drones are reported to fly in clusters of six to 10, according to the Yuma County sheriff's department, and said to be flying 600 to 900 feet high. That sheriff's office also said they are very large drones, costing in the neighborhood of $100,000, about 6 feet in length and they appear to be flying in a grid pattern. They have red, green and white lights.

The drones were first reported in Segwick, Yuma, Lincoln and Phillips counties in Colorado and also nearby Grant County in Nebraska. Recent reports have tracked them to Morgan County in Colorado, just 50 miles south of Kimball, and the counties of Perkins and Chase in Nebraska.

Now, the direction of the drones appears to have headed north to Banner and Scotts Bluff counties. The Scottsbluff County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday posted a media report on its Facebook page linking the drones to F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.

Morgan County, Colo., Sheriff Dave Martin held a closed-door meeting Monday, Jan. 6, with numerous area law enforcement agencies, the FAA and FBI in attendance.

We don't know who, what, or the purpose of the drones," he said. "I wish I had some information about the drones, but I don't."

Martin said he had not witnessed a sighting of the drones, but members of his staff have seen them.

Kimball County Sheriff Harry Gillway told the Observer that there were sightings of drones in Kimball County on "Thursday, Friday, Saturday, but not Sunday, and then they came back with vengeance on Monday night."

Late Tuesday night brought more of the same, when what were believed to be drones buzzed loudly over downtown Kimball before darting away.

Deputies confirmed 10 sighting near Dix and Clean Harbors, among other areas.

"It is difficult to say what they are, but there is lots of suspicion that they are government in nature," Gillway said. "I don't think they pose a threat."

Gillway had plans to use his night vision binoculars to try to get a better view of the drones Tuesday night.

Cheyenne County Sheriff Adam Frerichs said his county has had two law enforcement confirmed sightings of drones. The first reports of drone sighting in Cheyenne County occurred Dec. 29.

Frerichs said he saw one cluster of four drones and one of his deputies also confirmed a sighting.

According to Frerichs, a task force was formed at the Morgan County, Colo., meeting on Monday and their objective is to "identify who is behind the drones."

No flight plans have been filed for the drones and Frerichs asked people to be vigilant looking for someone on the ground who may be controlling them.

Cheyenne County 911 issued a statement: "DO NOT SHOOT AT THEM OR SHOOT THEM DOWN. IT IS A FEDERAL OFFENSE. DO NOT SPOTLIGHT THEM EITHER ... If anyone sees a suspicious vehicle or vehicles, we would like to know. For instance, a van or other vehicles with an enclosed trailer sporting more than one antenna or any vehicles spotted in area where they don't look like they belong or look suspiciously out of place."

Many agencies have been contacted, such as Homeland Security, NORAD, Air Force, FBI and FAA, but no one wants to confirm their knowledge of the drones. Speculation on who is piloting the drones includes many different agencies, gas and oil exploration companies, missile mapping, Amazon, Google and the military, and the list goes on. But more recent public theories have focused on some specialized section of the military in search of something in particular.

The Nebraska State Patrol website reported that, "NSP is working with several offices, local police departments and federal authorities, including FAA, on reports of drone activity in many areas of Nebraska and Colorado."

NSP issued this statement: "We take every drone-sighting report seriously. Multiple FAA divisions are working closely with federal, state and local stakeholders to determine whether the reported sightings in Colorado and Nebraska are drones and if so, who is operating them and for what reason. Earlier today, various agencies met and shared information about how to effectively collaborate.

The FAA has taken a number of actions:

• It contacted FAA UAS test sites, drone companies, and companies that are authorized to operate drones in these area. It had not determined the source of the reported drone flights.

• It contacted general aviation airports in the affected counties to ensure they are aware of the sightings; that they ask pilots to be cautious and to report sightings; and that they report any people they see operating drones.

• It said it will continue working with federal and local law enforcement and national security partners to discuss ways to identify who may be operating these aircraft.

 

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