Mysterious drone sightings have been reported in three more rural counties in the northeast corner of Colorado and at least one county in Nebraska as local law enforcement officials and residents remain clueless as to what’s flying above them at night.
The sheriffs of Lincoln, Washington and Sedgwick counties told The Denver Post on Friday that their offices have been getting calls this week about the unknown winged devices, days after initial reports out of Phillips and Yuma counties caused a national stir.
Local and national authorities say they have no idea who is operating the groups of large drones, reported to have 6-foot wingspans and spend the nighttime hours flying in grid-like patterns.
While the powers that be have no answers, the mystery aircraft have inspired a wide range of theories online. 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 theorized.
Thus far, however, all anyone can do is guess.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Carlton Britton said residents have been calling his office consistently since Dec. 17, reporting six to 10 drones at a time. The calls mirror those in Phillips County: The clusters of drones hover or cruise through the area between 7 and 10 p.m., flying several hundred feet in the air.
Britton said he has seen them himself — lights of an unknown color flickering from overhead.
“Oh, yeah,” the sheriff said with a chuckle, “there’s a lot of conspiracy theories floating in Sedgwick County right now.”
Britton has been batting ideas around with Phillips County Sheriff Thomas Elliott, trying to determine if any laws are being broken. As it stands right now, he said, it’s all above board — even if it’s a bit disconcerting.
Britton said he has spoken with a sheriff’s deputy in neighboring Deuel County, Neb., who has been chasing drones in his state the past few days. The Deuel County sheriff could not be reached Friday to comment.
Washington County Sheriff Jon Stivers has heard reports from his constituents of six drones at a time to 30.
“It’s both weird and concerning,” Stivers said. “It would be kind of nice to know what they’re doing.”
Lincoln County Sheriff Tom Nestor said he received the first report of a drone sighting in his jurisdiction Thursday night. He expects the conspiracy theorists to run wild, but Nastor said he’s most concerned with the drones colliding midair with planes from Limon’s airport or helicopters used in emergency situations.
The sheriffs said they have gotten nothing from the Federal Aviation Authority, and Elliot previously told The Post that the Air Force has denied involvement. The FAA also told The Post this week that it had no information on the mystery flyers. Neither did the Drug Enforcement Administration nor the U.S. Army Forces Command.
Local sheriff’s offices had been inundated with questions, including whether people are allowed to shoot the drones out of the sky.
“That’s not advisable,” Stivers said, indicating that it could break federal law.
The sheriffs instead recommended that residents call their offices with any more information. The Washington and Lincoln county sheriff’s offices have posted notices on Facebook asking residents to report sightings of the drones.
“I would love for someone to break it wide open,” Nestor said. “I don’t know what it is, but I would like it not to be in my county.”
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Colo. –Law enforcement officials in at least 4 Colorado counties are looking for the source of some mysterious drone sightings.
In most cases, those drones have been flying in formations, between 6-10 P.M., according to Washington County Sheriff Jon Stivers.
“I had reports of anywhere from 6 to 12,” he says. “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,”
Stivers says those reports were just South of Highway 34, between Otis and Akron.
The Phillips County Sheriff was the first to report the sightings, confirming 16 drones in a Dec. 20 Facebook post.
Lincoln County later confirmed a single sighting in a post.
Sheriff Stivers says at this point, he does not believe the operations are malicious.
“I have no reason to think that, but it would be sure be nice to know what they’re doing.”
Drone Instructor Angel Andres Rosado says it’s likely a company performing some sort of mapping.
“When you hear one drone, somebody just got a new toy for Christmas and they don’t quite know the rules yet,” he says. “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.”
Rosado says in certain cases, it can be beneficial to fly at night.
“At night particularly, you can load up a drone with a special sensor on the front that can actually use infrared technology to search for gas line leaks and perhaps other kinds of data like that,” he says. “So it’s completely possible there’s some company out there doing some sort of night infrared imagery perhaps. And they’re using multiple drones to get themselves a higher resolution, a clearer picture, of what they’re looking for.”
He says the company performing the operations would need special waivers to do it at night, and to fly in formation.
“If there’s 10 or 12 of them flying together, unless they have 10 or 12 drone operators, one for each one, they would require a special type of waiver to conduct that type of waiver,” he says. “I would imagine that level of sophistication, to even control 12 drones at one time, requires some pretty advanced technology, some pretty smart people to do that. I would imagine, and I would hope, they’re doing it legally.”
He says with proper waivers, the company would not be required to notify the 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,” says Rosado.
The FAA says they have “No FAA drone reports in Colorado matching this location or description.”
They declined to answer further questions, referring FOX31 to military media relations.
We’ve reached out to the Air Force, and will update this article when we receive a response.
We live in Yuma county Colorado on a farm near the town of
On Christmas morning my wife and I called our oldest son, to wish him and his family a Merry
In the course of our conversation I mentioned to him about the
large drones being seen in Yuma and Phillips county and now yes even in
Washington and Lincoln counties.
I mentioned how you and Dave were both
reporting on them.
He was very interested as he follows your site as well.
He called me back on the evening of 12/26. His landlord is a
retired federal LEO who was employed with the BLM.
He told my son about the drones an said he would check into
it as he had a couple of close friends who were still active federal LEOs
but I don’t know what agency. This is what they told him as relayed back to
me via my son.
The drones are DHS and yes they are looking for guns but
more specifically large caches of weapons that may even be stored
The drones have the technology to detect metal piping as well
as hollow spaces underground such as cellars, bunkers etc. Interesting
because a gun is basically a metal pipe.
So as I understand they are looking for cellars and bunkers with large caches of weaponry. Now this is
where it gets WEIRD! They stated, that this was being done in preparation for an event or events that would cause the
capitol to be moved from Washington DC to Denver but I have no idea what
that event would be. (nuclear attack?…civil war?…tsunami?…invasion?)
I realize that this is third party info so make of it what you will.
I personally have not seen these drones but then I am an early to bed kind of guy. I do know
of a lady who lives in the country near the tiny town of Laird, Co. (very
near me) who was awakened by one of these drones looking in her living room
window and one of my coworkers tells me she has pictures of it on her cell
phone. I have not seen them but I would certainly like to. Anyway that is
all I have and feel free to relay this info to Dave if you see fit.
God bless you and keep up the good work. B.
Dec 28, 2019