UPDATED: Unmanned Drone Crashes at Tyndall Air Force Base - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

UPDATED: Unmanned Drone Crashes at Tyndall Air Force Base

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QF-4 drones are made to be shot down, but Wednesday one took it's dive a little earlier than expected.

"We crashed a QF-4 on the drone runway during takeoff at Tyndall," said Colonel James Vogel, Commander of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group.

"Security forces will come out and we will block both directions of highway 98 when the drone is launched," said Colonel William Grund of the 325th Mission Support Squadron. "And we do the same thing when the drone is recovering."

But, the incident changed that standard protocol forcing through traffic to find different means to getting to their destinations. The unmanned QF-4 carries with it a self detonation device with a battery life of 24 hours. That device can cause an explosion reaching more than 3000 feet.

"We don't have any evidence that that charge was detonated or not and we don't know where it is yet," said Colonel Vogel. "So we are going to wait until it's time is expired and it's completely safe and then we will move from there."

The aerial target was one of two to go up for air to air weapons training Wednesday morning.

"They are designed, developed, bought, purchased, and used to be shot down," said Vogel. "Which is exactly what happened with the second drone today on the successful missile test."

The crash is the second in the last week, although the two are unrelated. No one was injured in either crash.

"But, closing the road, the restricted airspace, the procedures that we have in place, have proven to be very safe to the public to include last weeks incident and today's incident," said Colonel Vogel.

This crash is under investigation.

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UPDATE: U.S. Highway 98 from Tyndall Air Force Base to Mexico Beach is expected to remain closed until mid-day Thursday as a result of the unmanned Air Force QF-4 full scale aerial target drone that crashed today. 

"This closure is being done strictly as a precautionary measure due to fires resulting from the crash and a small self-destruct charge carried on board the target," said Col. William Grund, 325th Mission Support Group commander. "We understand that the closure of Highway 98 is a huge inconvenience to our local community, but we ask for everyone's patience and understanding as we work to secure the area and maintain safety."

The status of this device is unknown; however it is powered by a short-life battery which will be fully depleted in 24 hours, at which time the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team can go out and secure the site. The charge is used to destroy the target if it leaves its pre-approved flight plan. 

Motorist traveling from Panama City to Mexico Beach should use Hwy. 22 east to Hwy. 71 south, and from Mexico Beach to Panama City Hwy. 71 north to Hwy. 22 west.

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An unmanned Air Force QF-4 drone, assigned here to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, crashed on the drone runway during take-off at 8:25 a.m. today.  No personnel were injured during the incident.

Base and local police and safety officials have closed Highway 98 and are anticipating that it will remain closed for up to 24 hours.  This closure is being done strictly as a precautionary measure due to fires resulting from the crash and a small self-destruct charge carried on board the drone.  The status of this device is unknown however, it is powered by a short-life battery which will be fully depleted in 24 hours.

The charge is used to destroy  the drone if it leaves its pre-approved flight plan.  Motorist traveling from Panama City to Mexico Beach, should use Hwy. 22 east to Hwy. 71 south, and from Mexico Beach to Panama City Hwy. 71 north to Hwy. 22 west.

More details will be released as they become available.

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Information provided by Tyndall Air Force Base Public Affairs