The authorities in several Colorado counties have moved to investigate the origins of unusual drone sightings; the unidentified flying objects were reported by local residents during this week, FOX31 reports.
As Washington County Sheriff Jon Stivers explained to the media outlet, the drones were usually seen flying in formations, between 6 and 10 p.m.
"I had reports of anywhere from 6 to 12. One person believed it to more than 12, close to 30. It seemed like several of them were flying together, in 3 or 4 pairs," he said.
Drone Instructor Angel Andres Rosado suggested that the sheer number of drones likely meant that it’s some kind of mapping operation.
"When you hear one drone, somebody just got a new toy for Christmas and they don’t quite know the rules yet," he said. "But when you hear 12 and they’re flying in formation? Someone’s doing some professional work out there, that’s my personal opinion anyway."
He also remarked that companies performing such tasks would require special waivers to fly their drones in formation or to perform such activities at night, and that certain waivers would spare them the need to notify the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) before every flight.
"When you get a night waiver it basically just means you have permission to fly the drone within certain stipulations but it usually doesn’t require you to notify the FAA of every single flight," he remarked.
According to The Denver Post, similar drone sightings were apparently reported in one Nebraska county as well, adding that while the US Federal Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the US Army Forces Command apparently had no information on the "mystery fliers", online gossipers had already come up with several theories.
"It has to be the work of a Mexican drug cartel," one commenter on The Post’s website said. "No, no — it’s obviously aliens from a far-off galaxy," another replied. "Perhaps it’s the History Channel looking for lost cities, or ranchers trying to track their cows," others theorised, according to the newspaper.
For now, local authorities are continuing to investigate the matter.