For the second time in a week, a Tyndall Air Force Base drone has gone down. But this time, the crash is going to inconvenience a lot of people. The Air Force shut down Highway 98 all day Wednesday and plans to shut it down part of the Thursday.
"I was coming out of the woods and I just happened to look up and a big ball of smoke started rising right there at the end of the runway," said Michael Kay.
Kay says that's what he saw when a QF-4 drone crashed during takeoff at Tyndall Air Force Base.
"I knew what it was pretty much, figured a drone had done crashed again," Kay said.
"The mission was a 2 ship of drones. The first one launched successfully and we actually met many of our test objectives and our evaluation objectives shooting at the first drone," said Col. James Vogel, Commander of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group. "The second was the one that crashed."
Fortunately no was hurt and the Air Force wants to keep it that way. They've sealed the crash site and shut down Highway 98 because they believe there's still a danger due to a small explosive charge. That charge allows the controller to blow up the drone if it leaves it's pre-approved flight plan.
"We don't have any evidence that that charge was detonated or not and we don't know where it is yet. So we're gonna wait until it's time is expired so it's completely safe and then we'll move further from there," Vogel said in a press conference.
The battery allowing controllers to detonate the explosive device has a 24-hour charge that will expire by midday Thursday.
Investigators are already trying to find the cause of the crash. Tyndall officials actually used that explosive charge to destroy a drone last Wednesday. Col. Vogel says controllers made two attempts to return the drone to base, but each time something interfered. Fearing the drone was running low on fuel, they decided to detonate it over the Gulf.