Law enforcement in Colorado and Nebraska have received numerous reports about mysterious drones flying by night over rural parts of the states in recent weeks.
It’s unclear who the drones belong to or what they are doing, and they’ve unnerved residents, the New York Times reported.
The sightings started around mid-December and most have been between sunset and 10 p.m. The drones have blinking lights and wingspans of up to 6 feet.
“It’s creepy,” said Missy Blackman, who saw three drones hovering above her Nebraska farm. “I have a lot of questions of why and what are they, and nobody seems to have any answers.”
“It’s the fear of the unknown,” Colorado resident Dawn George added.
Michael Yowell, a sheriff’s captain in Lincoln County, Colorado, suggested it could be a mapping operation or a land survey.
“But you can’t rule out what you don’t know,” he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration has opened an investigation into the mystery, according to spokesman Ian Gregor.
“Multiple F.A.A. divisions and government agencies are investigating these reports,” he said in an email.
Sheriff James Brueggeman of Perkins County, Nebraska, said some residents have wanted to shoot down the unmanned aircraft, but he has urged them to report the sightings to law enforcement instead.
“I think it’s kind of a joke, but you have to remember the part of the country we live in,” the sheriff said. “People here don’t like their privacy to be invaded.”
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said he was “closely” monitoring the situation.
Last week, the FAA proposed new regulations that would require most drones to be unidentifiable. Gregor said the timing of the sightings and the proposed regulations was unrelated.
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