A $4 million military drone fell out of the sky over Lake Ontario Tuesday during a New York Air National Guard training mission, and officials have been unable to find the aircraft.
The MQ-9 Reaper took off from Wheeler Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum before it crashed at 1 p.m. Tuesday along the eastern rim of Lake Ontario.
A Coastguard helicopter and vessel were unable to locate the drone.
“They were very fortunate that this occurred in the lake, Lake Ontario, and not on land,” said Ann Tiffany with the Syracuse Peace Council.
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“There may be some less populated areas that this could take place than upstate New York,” she said. “This accident may just be a wake-up call.”
The drone was flying in military airspace, it was not armed, and there were no injuries. It is unclear what caused the crash.
“The mission was going as advertised, up to the point where we did lose control of the airplane,” said Col. Greg Semmel.
Semmel said the drone costs $4 million to $5 million. It was being operated by the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse.
During the crash investigation, all other Reapers have been grounded.
Semmel said the drone is as safe as any other airplane, and that people “should keep the confidence in the process ongoing, with the goal of flying off of Hancock Field.”