Air Force target drone washes ashore near Boynton Beach

NEAR BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) — Beachgoers near Boynton Beach were shocked to find what looked like a bright orange missile on the sand. It turned out to be a U.S. Air Force drone that had washed ashore.

People who spotted the drone, Friday morning, slowly walked away from it and dialed 911.

“It was just a red blob on the beach,” said a boy.

“I thought it was a missile,” said a woman.

“At 7:30, we received a call from Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit that was stationed over at the Boynton Inlet that a passer-by had reported what they thought was a missile,” said Ocean Ridge Police Chief Hal Hutchins. “It turned out to be a military target drone on the beach, in the surf.”

Beachgoers didn’t know if it was a missile, so they steered clear before authorities arrived.

“The sheriff responded, along with our officers, and determined that it was, in fact, a military object,” said Hutchins.

The beaches were closed until PBSO and Ocean Ridge Police could determine what it was and clear it away.

“Coming to the beach and having no chairs here, that’s what threw us off to begin with,” said a woman.

“It’s an unusual Friday,” said the boy.

“It’s not an explosive device. However, it’s a drone, so it has fuel on it, which was our concern,” said Hutchins. “It is safe. It is a heavy piece of flight gear that washed up on the beach.”

“It’s not quite as random as you might think. There’s nothing dangerous and nothing concerning,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Savannah Bray.

The drone had instructions on it for what to do in case it was found. It is a subscale BQM-167A drone that is used for target practice during weapons training.

“We recover these on a regular basis, and sometimes we’re just unable to,” said Bray.

Officials said the drone was likely shot down two to three months ago.

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