Student Receives $350,000 Government Drone in Error

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 10:50 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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A government drone worth $350,000 was delivered by United Parcel Service Inc. to a college student by mistake, The Telegraph reported.

The Puma drone pieces, including an apparent control panel, is owned by the U.S. National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration and was meant to be used at a marine sanctuary for an environment and wildlife research program.

The unnamed student uploaded pictures on Monday to the Reddit website of a large box filled with neatly packaged drone parts.

Then the student called UPS to inform the company of its error, but was told that the package was definitely his, and it was up to him whether to keep it or not.

"The UPS guy on the phone had said that this had been in storage, and was something that had been lost in transit, or in some other way went undelivered," the student wrote on Reddit under the user name Seventy_Seven, according to The Telegraph.

The student, whose address was not revealed, also detailed how he had ordered a weightlifting bench through the post, and received the box containing the drone parts in the same delivery.

After other Reddit users pointed out the drone belonged to NOAA, the student contacted the agency to report that he’d erroneously received its package.

"They were happy I reached out to them, and now know where their missing shipment went," he wrote, according to Sky News. "After describing what happened, [NOAA] seemed pretty content about it."

Story continues below video.

David Miller, an NOAA spokesman, told the Motherboard website: "We sent one of our Puma unmanned aircraft systems to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts. We sent a set of about eight boxes for this one aircraft system, and one was misdelivered by UPS."

However, adding to the mystery is the fact that the package had been sent from MacDill Air Force Base in Florida in plain wrapping addressed to the student.

Miller added: "We're just wanting to get that missing package to the sanctuary, so we can start flying the mission."

The drone, which has a range of around eight miles, can fly for two hours before being recharged.

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