Previously, the state’s Phillips County Sheriff’s Office revealed in a December 21 Facebook post that the department had been made aware of the sightings, writing that observations had also been made by several deputies. At the time, the agency noted that officials had spotted “over 16 drones” in the nighttime skies above both Phillips and Yuma counties.
Colorado authorities have described the drones as being flown in a grid-like formation “in squares of about 25 miles” and indicated that the flights tend to take place between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. local time. They’ve also stated that the aircraft have a 6-foot wingspan and have a habit of flying between 200 feet and 300 feet in the air.
Now, weeks since the initial sightings were reported, officials still haven’t been able to pinpoint where the drones are coming from or who is operating them.
Sheriff Tom Nestor of Colorado’s Lincoln County told ABC News for a Monday article that there have been two confirmed sightings in his county, and that residents are starting to speculate about the operation.
Nestor stated that the first Lincoln County sightings occurred on December 17 over open areas, such as a ranches - similar to previous sightings in neighboring counties.
With speculation on the rise, some Coloradans have suggested that the drones could possibly be searching for illegal crops. Local resident Joseph Vencel told news station KMGH that “it is kind of scary because out where I live, there are many people who have private planes.”
“You never know when one is going to take off, and if they’re big drones, that could be a danger,” he added.
Most recently, the US Air Force confirmed to Colorado officials that the drone sightings were not tied to the service, and the Federal Aviation Administration told the Denver Post, which broke the story, that it did not have any information on the flights, since drone operators are not required to submit such documents.
Although officials are still unsure of the motive behind the drone operation, they do not believe the flights to carry any malicious intent. Local residents are being urged against attempting to shoot down the gadgets out of concerns that the downed drones could cause fires.