Predator Crash Grounds Border Patrol’s Drone Fleet

A Customs operator ditched the drone in the Pacific Ocean.

National Journal
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Alex Brown
Jan. 28, 2014, 10:28 a.m.

A Pred­at­or crash in the Pa­cific Ocean has groun­ded the coun­try’s bor­der-watch­ing drones as Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion tries to de­term­ine what caused the un­manned sur­veil­lance craft to fail.

An op­er­at­or ditched a Pred­at­or B drone 20 miles off the San Diego coast around 11:15 p.m. Monday after es­tab­lish­ing it wouldn’t be able to reach its home base in Ari­zona. “The cause of the fail­ure is un­known,” Cus­toms spokes­man Mi­chael Fri­el told Bloomberg. “There were no in­jur­ies as a res­ult of this emer­gency land­ing.”

Cus­toms had 10 such air­craft — in­clud­ing the one that crashed — which are cap­able of fly­ing for 27 hours at alti­tudes near­ing 50,000 feet. The agency has come un­der fire for re­cent rev­el­a­tions that it has flown hun­dreds of mis­sions on be­half of loc­al law-en­force­ment agen­cies.


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