The hysteria around the mysterious drones was unfounded, as investigations found no evidence.
Worry and panic ensued when The Denver Post first released a story about mysterious drones flying in rural Colorado in the middle of the night. The article got international press attention and Coloradans were left wondering about the strange nighttime patterns of the drones and what it meant for their safety.
On January 13, the Colorado Department of Public Safety (CDPS) made a statement about their investigation into the sightings of these mysterious drones. The CDPS "confirmed no incidents involving criminal activity, nor have investigations substantiated reports of suspicious or illegal drone activity". They found no evidence these drones were real.
Of the 23 reports of the mysterious drone sightings between January 6-13, 13 ended up being just "planets, stars or small hobbyist drones". Six were commercial aircraft, but four remain unconfirmed. Out of the 90 reports beginning on November 23, none were confirmed instances of illegal drone activity.
The CDPS stated they will continue to be vigilant and respond to new information as it comes in.
Talk of strange drones sightings gained momentum at the end of December when it became clear through various reportings that no one seemed to know what the drones were looking for or who was operating them. The reports of the sightings had stated that the drones had white and red flashing lights and a six-foot wingspan. Several attempts by authorities were made to follow said drones, but nothing came of it. It was also reported that there could have been up to 30 drones moving around the county and appeared to be working in a search pattern.
One of the most intense searches occurred on January 8 when a medical helicopter reported having flown close to a drone in the same general area. Immediately after becoming aware of the information, more than 70 local, state, federal, and military officials convened in a small town called Brush and formed a joint drone task force.
The mystery was not solved at the time.
The mysterious Colorado drones, that seemingly never existed, is another instance of what is being called drone hysteria, which has been documented by a white paper published by drone manufacturer DJI. A study by the Academy of Model Aeronautics found that only 27 out of 764 reports of drone sightings were actually legitimate.
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