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Military Blimp Grounded After Breaking Free From Mooring

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

A military blimp that detached from its mooring and floated away over Pennsylvania is now on the ground and secure, state police officials said.

The blimp, part of the U.S. air and missile defense system, was flying above Pennsylvania directly northeast of Washington D.C., according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). It had been moored near Washington at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. The U.S. Air National Guard dispatched two F-16 fighter jets Wednesday afternoon to monitor the blimp as it moved across Pennsylvania.

Officials in Pennsylvania said the blimp had been floating near the ground and linked the aircraft to power outages in the area. More than 20,000 households had lost power after the blimp’s tether line “reportedly caused damage to facilities,” according to a PPL Electric spokesperson.

NORAD officials worked with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure the safety of airplanes flying in the region, according a statement. The airship, which is approximately as long as a football field, was traveling at an elevation of about 15,000 ft. above sea level, significantly below the level of most commercial flights.

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com