The Aerostat, by Lockheed Martin is an impressive balloon to say the least. Its size varies, but from the footage which was later uploaded to Youtube, you can see the device would have been larger than a house while inflated. So it’s easy to understand why residents of one community in Canyon Del Flores were shocked when it came crashing down in their front yards. The spy balloon, which was operating over US airspace when rogue winds tore it away from its controllers was quickly cut up and carted away.
The Aerostat is usually used along the border between the US and Mexico and along the US coasts to detect drug smugglers and to gather intelligence, but in this case the device was operating over Fort Huachuca – a US Army Intelligence base in Arizona. When the winds grabbed it and knocked it down residents looking out their window saw a massive chaotic mass of fabric and ropes crashing into their neighborhood. Residents reported hearing a massive crash like the sky was falling and then saw the heap still deflating on their property. The device crashed into the roof of Christopher Peacock, local resident but luckily did not cause any real damage to it.
But the real story isn’t that the Aerostat crashed, it’s the strange way authorities were acting when they retrieved it. While the majority of the device crashed into Peacock’s home, there were massive pieces of machinery dropped all over and reported to local news agencies such as News Channel 4 KOVA in Tucson. One woman, who had a massive piece of machinery crash into her home wanted to take pictures of the minor damage for insurance purposes, but was told her cell phone would be confiscated if she took any photos of the debris. After that she was too scared to use her name as her husband worked for the government.
So the obvious question in this incident is, “Why was the Aerostat being operated in this area, and what was it doing that warranted its use even when winds were so high?” But the even more disturbing question that immediately is raised is “What was on the Aerostat that couldn’t even be photographed it was so sensitive?”
Looking at Fort Huachuca’s visitor’s center online for comments on the incident, it is apparent the level of secrecy involved. Even the visitor’s center has a clause in it saying all use is heavily monitored and any device connected to it may be confiscated – even going so far as to say security precautions on the site are not for the sake of visitors.
Shortly after the device crashed, ten black pickup trucks arrived, cut it to pieces and dragged it away. Within only a few hours the location was completely scrubbed with no sign that anything unusual had happened aside from minor damage and the stories residents would later tell over the dinner table.