UNION TWP., Pa. - A rural community faced quite the shock Thursday afternoon, when a 375 lb. unmanned military aircraft crashed in the middle of a roadway.
It happened shortly after 3 p.m. on Fisher Avenue in Union Township, Lebanon County, close to a Comfort Inn and elementary school.
"I heard it stall out and then it hit. It sounded like it scraped, like a skipping stone, like it was a hard impact," said Rich Miller, who was leaving his nearby home to get the mail when the accident happened.
"Pieces scattered, just shattered," he said.
Fortunately, officials said no one was injured, although a woman driving did strike a portion of the broken aircraft, damaging the front of her vehicle.
The aircraft, similar to a drone, was being used for training operations from the nearby Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Center.
Major Ed Shank, Public Affairs Officer, said investigators aren't yet sure what caused the incident.
"It could have been anything from an operator error, to the aircraft malfunctioning, to weather… any number of things, so we have a team of investigators right now checking it out," said Maj. Shank.
Maj. Shank told 69 News that a Safety Team from Fort Rucker in Alabama is investigating. In the meantime, operations involving that particular type of unmanned aircraft (RQ-7 Shadow) have been temporarily suspended.
Maj. Shank said the base has been flying the RQ-7 Shadow since 2005, and never experienced an incident like this before.
Allentown, PA 18102