State police using shotguns to deflate blimp

An unmanned Army surveillance blimp floats through the air while dragging a tether line south of Millville, Pa., Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. The bulbous, 240-foot helium-filled blimp came down near Muncy, a small town about 80 miles north of Harrisburg. The North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado said the blimp detached from its station at the military's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. (Jimmy May/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise via AP)

MUNCY, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania State Police troopers are using shotguns to deflate a wayward surveillance blimp that broke loose from a Maryland facility before coming down into trees in the Pennsylvania countryside.

Army Captain Matthew Villa says the blimp has been secured with additional ropes and troopers are using shotguns to deflate it. They are still working on a removal plan, and about 60 members of the military are at the scene near Muncy.

The blimp, fitted with sensitive defense technology, escaped Wednesday from Aberdeen Proving Ground. Its dangling tether caused outages in Pennsylvania before the aircraft hit the ground.

Villa says very sensitive electronics onboard have been removed but the vast majority of blimp is still there, in two pieces.

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11:15 a.m.

An official says it will take days or maybe weeks to remove a surveillance blimp that broke loose from a Maryland military facility before coming down into trees in the Pennsylvania countryside.

U.S. Army Captain Matthew Villa says the blimp is in two “mostly intact” pieces. The main body is at one site and the tail section is a few hundred meters away.

He says the wreckage is in trees along a ravine in a hard-to-access area. He spoke at a briefing Thursday morning, a day after the 240-foot helium-filled blimp came to a rest near Muncy, Pennsylvania.

Villa says the “hows and whys” of what happened are under investigation.

The blimp, fitted with sensitive defense technology, escaped from Aberdeen Proving Ground. Its dangling tether caused outages in Pennsylvania before it hit the ground.

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