Coast Guard: $18 Million Drone Purposely Crashed Into Ocean

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 04:19 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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The U.S. Coast Guard was recovering pieces of an $18 million drone that was deliberately crashed into the ocean off the California coast Monday night by federal officials after the drone stopped working properly.

The Homeland Security drone was in the air for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and a spokesperson there told The Associated Press that he didn’t know why the drone wasn’t working properly.

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“The crew determined that the UAS would be unable to return to where it originated in Sierra Vista, Ariz., and put the aircraft down in the water,” said a written statement from Customer and Border Protection spokesman Mike Friel.

The drone was one Homeland Security uses to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border. It was one of only two drones that had radar to be used when the drone was over the ocean. NBC said the Predator B drone that was lost can fly for 20 hours and go as high as 50,000 feet.

The drone was made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, San Diego, and the drone fleet was grounded while the incident is investigated, NBC 10 Philaelphia reported.

In November, two sailors were hurt when a drone incident occurred near Point Mugu, Calif.

As the use of drones for various situations rises, including things like swooping over a wedding to shoot video of the couple, it’s been suggested that licenses be required for drone pilots.

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