Weather device falls from sky, bomb squad responds

Posted at 12:35 PM, Nov 23, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The National Weather Service says that an instrument that fell from the sky, prompting a Philadelphia bomb squad response, weighed about a pound and had been launched with a weather balloon about 165 miles away.

Mitchell Gaines, of the weather service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, says the instrument called a radiosonde took off Saturday from the agency’s office in Sterling, Virginia. High winds carried it to Philadelphia.

Radiosondes are sent up by balloons, taking and transmitting measurements to their home stations as they ascend. When the balloon reaches a certain altitude it pops, and the instrument floats to the ground. It has a postage-paid mailbag inside so finders can return it. reports a bomb squad responded when the radiosonde fell from the sky in northeast Philadelphia and struck a vehicle.