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Military drone washes up on beach in Florida

Air Force says drone used in training by 53rd Wing based in panhandle
Posted at 9:03 PM, Mar 19, 2021

OCEAN RIDGE, Fla. — A U.S. military target drone washed ashore Friday on the beach at Ocean Ridge Hammock Park in Ocean Ridge, Florida.

The drone was discovered Friday morning by a passerby on the north end of the beach, Ocean Ridge Police Chief Hal Hutchins said.

military drone washes up on beach at Ocean Ridge Hammock Park
Police investigate after a military drone washes ashore on the beach at Ocean Ridge Hammock Park.

"The item is a drone from the U.S. Air Force," Hutchins said.

Hutchins said police followed the instructions on the drone for what to do if it was found.

Instructions on side of U.S. Air Force drone found on beach in Ocean Ridge
Police followed these instructions on the side of this U.S. Air Force drone that washed ashore on the beach at Ocean Ridge Hammond Park.

Police closed off the area while they waited for the Air Force to reclaim it.

Police chief says military drone that washed ashore 'is safe'

"As long as it's out here, we'll be out here with it," Hutchins said. "But, as you can see, it is safe for people to be around. We've assured everyone that it is safe. We've been assured by the sheriff's office and the Air Force that there is no danger to anyone going near it."

The drone was eventually removed from the beach and towed to the Boynton Beach Inlet.

Air Force 1st Lt. Savanah Bray said the target drone was used for training with the 53rd Wing out of Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City. Bray said the drones are typically retrieved from the water after trainees shoot them down, but this one happened to wash ashore.

"It's not quite as random as you might think," Bray said in a telephone interview. "There's nothing dangerous in it, nothing concerning. Like I said, we recover these on a regular basis and sometimes we're just unable to."

This article was written by Peter Burke and Miranda Christian for WPTV.