A college student attempting to order weight lifting equipment through the mail somehow received parts for a $350,000 drone from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.
A package was mailed from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., to the unidentified student with a note that read: “USA Federal Property Return to: NOAA Aircraft Operations Center.”
A photo of the package and its contents was eventually posted online.
“The UPS guy on the phone had said that this had been in storage, and was something that had been lost in transit, or in some other way went undelivered,” the student wrote on Reddit, the Tampa Tribune noaa-drone-parts-shipped-in-error-to-college-student-20140506/” target=”_blank”>reported. “He kept saying that it was mine, and something that was intended to be delivered to me, but didn’t make it originally. Due to this, I feel like there isn’t an active search for this thing, at least not yet. I’m not stressing too much, and I am going to call.”
The student, who goes by the screen name “Seventy_Seven,” attempted to reach the agency, but was redirected to voice mail.
“I’m getting a swarm of messages from people who claim they are in the industry, work at UPS, work for the NOAA, etc, but I don’t think I can trust any of these random contacts,” the student wrote in his post, the Tribune reported. “I’ll be waiting on a response tomorrow, unless someone has irrefutable proof that they somehow have a connection that can get me to someone who matters on this issue.
“I’m still alive and well, and if you haven’t read already, it’s not military,” he wrote. “Regardless, it’s not mine, and I’ll be sending it to its owner unless I’m told to keep it. … Here’s hoping I survive until tomorrow.”
Motherboard was eventually able to get contact with a representative from NOAA on behalf of the student. Spokesman David Miller said the agency was trying to discern how the accident happened.
“We sent one of our Puma unmanned aircraft systems to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts,” Mr. Miller told the blog. “We sent a set of about eight boxes for this one aircraft system, and one was misdelivered by UPS. We’re working with UPS to find it.”