Runaway US military blimp causes havoc in Pennsylvania

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This Military 'Blimp' Is Loose on the East Coast

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A high-tech U.S. military blimp designed to detect a missile attack came loose on Wednesday and wreaked havoc as it floated from Maryland into Pennsylvania, dragging its 10,000-foot-long cable behind it and knocking out power to thousands.

The U.S. military scrambled two armed F-16 fighter jets to keep watch as the blimp traveled into civilian airspace after coming loose shortly after mid-day from its mooring station at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, a U.S. Army facility 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Baltimore.

SEE ALSO: Runaway US military blimp protecting DC now over Pennsylvania

It came down several hours later in two parts in Montour County, Pennsylvania, the U.S. military's North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) told reporters.

First, the tail portion of the blimp detached and came to the ground "with no reports of other damage or casualties," Navy Captain Scott Miller said.

"The remainder of the aerostat has also grounded itself in Montour County," Miller said.

Check out coverage of the runaway blimp on Twitter:

Blimp on the loose over Pennsylvania???
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Runaway US military blimp causes havoc in Pennsylvania
Fighter jets are monitoring a military blimp that broke free of its tether and now floating freely over Pennsylvania
JLENS blimp has broken free of its tether and is now over Pennsylvania at 16,000 feet. Two fighter jets are monitoring: NORAD spokesman
NORAD confirms one of the JLENS blimps that has been surveilling the East Coast from Maryland has come free of its tether
The blimp from @USAGAPG has come off its tether. If you see it on the ground, call 911. Here's what it looks like.
MORE: Fighter jets scramble to monitor military blimp that detached from Army base mooring
NEW: Billion dollar military surveillance blimp detaches & is floating over Pennsylvania.
Military blimp comes loose, now flying over Pennsylvania. #RunawayBlimp

It was not immediately clear how the blimp became detached from its mooring station at Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

PPL Electric Utilities Corp [PEUC.UL] said that as of 3:45 p.m. there were about 17,800 customers without power in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, with another 9,000 out in Schuylkill County.

The office of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf released a statement to let the public know the state was monitoring the situation and discussing it with federal officials, state police and emergency officials and the National Guard.

The blimp is known as the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System and was part of a $2.8 billion development project.

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