Monday, December 20, 2010

Mexican drone crashes in backyard of El Paso home

A Mexican drone crashed in El Paso's Lower Valley, sparking a federal investigation and raising questions about why the aircraft was in U.S. airspace. "We are collecting data about the crash. We don't have the aircraft because it was returned to its owner," said Keith Holloway, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates aircraft crashes in the United States and in other countries that request its help. Though the U.S. is known to use drones to patrol the border, this is thought to be the first time a Mexican drone has been reported operating at the border. The drone crashed Tuesday on Craddock Avenue, near the intersection with Yarbrough Drive. Holloway said the aircraft that crossed into U.S. airspace is a mini orbiter unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the Aeronautics Defense System. According to the developer's website, the aircraft is designed for use in military and Homeland Security missions. It can be used for reconnaissance missions, low-intensity conflicts and urban warfare. Neither Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Border Patrol officials would say why the drone was returned to Mexico before investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board could inspect it...more

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