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Aerostat accident report released

  • Published
High winds, turbulence, and sharp object damage led to the March 30 breakaway of an Air Force surveillance aerostat from its tether near Rio Grande City, Texas, said a report released Nov. 6 by Air Combat Command.

The aerostat drifted more than 300 miles before coming to a rest on private land near Burnet, Texas. Along the way, the remains of its tether damaged power lines, interrupting power in several counties.

The breakaway occurred as ground crews attempted to recover the aerostat to its mooring station after the sudden development of a windstorm. High winds and sharp object damage from dragging put enormous tension on the aerostat's tether, which snapped free from a winch truck before the aerostat could be recovered.

The aerostat was part of a network known as the Tethered Aerostat Radar System that conducts counter-narcoterrorism surveillance across the southern U.S. border. (Courtesy of ACC News Service)