Army Refuses to Pay Damages from Runaway Blimp

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MONTOUR COUNTY -- The Army says it will not pay for damages after an experimental blimp broke free, causing more than $1 million in damages

That blimp was almost the size of a football field, and when it broke free from a military base in Maryland in 2015, it drifted north to our area and crashed in Montour County.

But those property owners who felt the Army should pay for the damages left in the runway blimp's wake are learning the Army is not paying any claims.

The Army wrapped up its own investigation into what happened and concluded no government agency or worker was responsible for the runaway blimp, or the damage left in its wake.

People in Schuylkill, Columbia, and Montour Counties saw the high-tech military blimp drifting over their homes and farms in October 2015.

Doug Ellis of Montour County said it looked harmless until its metal cables slashed into barns and buildings, knocking down power lines. It also damaged two of his cars and his roof at his home in Anthony Township shortly before it landed in a thicket of trees just a few miles away.

Ellis was one of 35 property owners who submitted a claim.

This fall, the Army told him to take his complaints to Raytheon, the defense contractor involved with the blimp.

"I understand what they have to do, they're the government after all," said Ellis.

Even though Ellis won't be getting any money from the government, he's been told Raytheon would pay him for the damages to his cars and home.

"And then they finally sent the paperwork to take care of the claim," he said.

It's unclear how many people Raytheon has settled with to pay damages caused by the cables on that wayward blimp.

PPL also filed a claim, saying 35,000 customers lost power when the blimp's cables slashed transmission lines.

A PPL spokesman says the utility will continue to press to be paid but will not say what group it will sue, or how much money the utility is looking for.

6 comments

  • Third rock from the sun

    Kingstonguy9 be glad we don’t live in a country that kills it’s people for doing stupid things! Like calling their country disgraceful

  • Johsua

    “The Army wrapped up its own investigation into what happened and concluded no government agency or worker was responsible for the runaway blimp, or the damage left in its wake.”

    Like they were going to rule against themselves. So much for being impartial.

  • Givemeabreak

    Everybody makes mistakes at their job here and there, but could you imagine looking up and seeing a blimp fly away that you were responsible for tying down. I would of loved to see the look on that guy’s face.

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