Surprise! $350,000 gov’t drone mailed to US student

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An unusual package has been delivered to a Massachusetts college student: the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration accidentally mailed him parts from a $350,000 environmental drone. The student said that delivery firm UPS had assured him that the package was his and it was up to him whether or not to keep it.

The large box was filled with drone pieces and included what appeared to be a control panel, according to the student’s Reddit message, complete with photos;

“Just called UPS. They told me that it was one of the undelivered packages in their office, and asked if I’ve ever had an undelivered package. I said no, but he insisted that it was mine, and said that it was up to me if I want to keep itor not,” the student wrote, quoted by the Boston.com.

“For all of those saying things along the lines of “It’s a federal offense to open someone else’s mail,” I should mention that the label on the exterior was addressed to me. Nothing on the outside of the crate said it was government property. I had ordered a weightlifting bench (which I received) and this came with it. Both boxes had UPS labels with my name and address. Though an odd box, I genuinely thought it was parts for the bench I ordered, since I wasn’t expecting a freaking drone,” he added.

David Miller, a NOAA spokesperson, quoted by Vice, said he has no idea how the package ended up in the hands of the Massachusetts student. The parts found in the box belonged to one of the NOAA’s Puma drones, which is used to record ocean debris, conduct seabird surveys, and monitor ocean habitats.

“We sent one of our Puma unmanned aircraft systems to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts. We sent a set of about eight boxes for this one aircraft system, and one was misdelivered by UPS,” Miller explained.

Commenting on events surrounding this government drone, the Vice reporter sarcastically added: “At least they didn’t lose their Global Hawk, which costs upwards of $20 million”.

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