Shadow RQ-7 Drone Goes AWOL, Ends up Crashing into Tree 623 Miles Away

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April 10, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: April 10 on

The US Army is investigating how one of its drones took an unplanned 623-mile excursion and ended up stuck in a tree two states away.

The Shadow RQ-7 drone was launched by soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade of the 7th Infantry Division during a training mission in Arizona at 17:16 local time. It was supposed to provide the troops with imaging support, however almost immediately after launch it lost contact with its ground station.

Losing communications with a drone isn”t uncommon – the machine”s software is supposed to either return it to its launch site automatically or have it loiter and try to reestablish contact. Instead, the $1.5m drone pulled a sharp right turn and headed off into New Mexico before turning north.