(TMU) — Mysterious clusters of drones have been spotted over northeastern Colorado and southwest Nebraska for the past two weeks and no one has been able to figure out who they belong to.
Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that they were launching an investigation into the strange occurrence after local investigations failed to produce any leads.
In a statement to Reuters, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said “multiple FAA divisions and government agencies are investigating these reports,” but provided no other details about the investigation, stating that it is against their policy to comment on an open case. Thus far, no government agencies or private companies have claimed responsibility for the drones.
The issue was first officially recognized by law enforcement on December 20, when the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado made a Facebook post saying that there were “multiple reports of drone sightings in the county over the last week.”
On the day that the report was made, officers from Phillips county and nearby Yuma county “tracked over 16 drones between the two counties.” The post went on to say, “we believe that the drones, though startling, are not malicious in nature.”
Phillips County Sheriff Thomas Elliot described the drone clusters to Reuters, saying that they flew in square grid patterns multiple nights in a row and usually appeared during the same times each day, between 5pm and 10pm. At night, the drones can be identified by their lights.
“They now have moved into Morgan County (Colorado) and have been spotted in Perkins County, Nebraska,” Elliot said.
Elliot suggested that it could be possible that oil or gas companies have been using the drones for land exploration, but no private companies have come forward to claim them. Local residents have attempted to track down the drones for more clues about their origin, but haven’t had any luck. In one case, Wyatt Harman and his girlfriend Chelsea Arnold chased the drones down the highway for 15 miles, driving as fast as 70mph, but they eventually lost sight of the elusive drones.
In the midst of this investigation, the FAA proposed for all drones operating in the United States to be registered and tracked.
“Remote ID technologies will enhance safety and security by allowing the F.A.A., law enforcement and federal security agencies to identify drones flying in their jurisdiction,” the federal transportation secretary, Elaine L. Chao, said in a statement to the New York Times last week.