Colombian Locals Mistake Project Loon Balloon for UFO

Photographs of the crashed balloon.  Image credit: Colombian Police

Photographs of the crashed balloon.  Image credit: Colombian Police

Locals in San Luis, part of the central-western Colombian province of Tolima, called the police recently after finding what they believed to be a crashed UFO in a nearby forest.  

"It was smoking and a strange liquid was leaking from it," said one local resident.

Those who witnessed the strange debris were at first convinced it must have been something otherworldly. 

"We all thought it was a UFO or the remains of a space craft," reported the surprised residents to local newspaper El Tiempo.

The mysterious remains were identified by local police as belonging to one of X's (formerly Google X) Project Loon balloons.  The balloons are released high into the atmosphere carrying equipment meant to bring internet connections to remote locations across the globe.

"It's a technological device used by Google which moves around and is held aloft by a balloon," said Tolima police commander Jorge Esguerra.

The remains of the captured equipment, once in custody.  Image credit: Colombian Police

The remains of the captured equipment, once in custody.  Image credit: Colombian Police

In their excitement, residents had already disrupted the scene and stolen bits of the crashed balloon by the time police could arrive.

"The device fell from the sky on Sunday, around 2 pm. Villagers found it in the middle of the forest area and informed police," said a police spokesman.  "We went to the place where the device was found. We should inform that villagers destroyed the balloon and that some items had already been stolen from the scene."

So far, 12 of X's Project Loon balloons have crashed since 2013.

Tobias WaylandComment