UPS delivers government drone to unsuspecting man

For reasons that seem a touch murky, a man receives what appears to be a PUMA Unmanned Aircraft System sent by a government entity. Why him?

mh8t9ur.jpg
Surprise! Seventy_Seven/Imgur

There are times at which I wish psychiatrists hadn't permanently co-opted the phrase: "How did that feel?"

For there must have been a fine panoply of emotions beating inside the body of a man who received a package from UPS and discovered that the government knew where he lived.

Indeed, the government had sent him a gift which, to his disbelieving eyes, looked like a drone.

You might ask yourself: "Why would the government send a random person a drone?" And I would answer: "Because there isn't just a green card lottery. There's also a drone lottery."

I would, of course, be talking nonsense. But it may be as good a nonsense as the unfolding events.

There's a deep charm to the headline that Redditor Seventy_Seven used to reveal his unexpected gift: "Got this in the mail today, definitely is not mine."

What's clear is that it was a PUMA Unmanned Aircraft System and that it was sent by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Tampa, Fla.

What's also clear is that this was an uncomfortable experience for the recipient. He said that he called the NOAA but then started to receive all sorts of messages from people who claimed to be in the know.

He added: "I'm still alive and well, and if you haven't read already, it's not military. 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."

Fortunately, this drone is used less to mow down enemies of the state and more for checking on the state of marine animals.

How was it, though, that it could have been so misdirected (UPS told Seventy_Seven that it had remained undelivered for a while)?

David Miller, the NOAA's director of digital media, told the Blaze: "It seems UPS delivered one of the eight boxes to the wrong address, a box containing only the wings and a control device. We are in touch with the person that received the package and are working with UPS to get components to its destination."

So it wasn't a whole drone. Just an eighth of a drone. Nothing more than the wings and the control system. From which, presumably, a miscreant could create his own drone.

Still, the mystery remains as to how seven parts of a drone could be delivered to the right address and the recipients didn't notice for some time that there were no wings or control system.

Do they put these drones together by committee and the committee hadn't got around to deciding who should connect which part to which other part? Might the other parts still be sitting in some unknown location, while sea urchins wander about in danger of their life?

Some estimates suggest that such a PUMA costs $400,000. That's a lot of resources left lying around like Humpty Dumpty after he'd fallen off the wall.

And how was it that Seventy_Seven's address became the lucky one? I have contacted the NOAA and will update, should I hear.

Please, therefore, open boxes from government agencies gingerly. (Or even don't open them at all.) You never know what you might find in there.

Hey, someone just sent me a nuclear button!


 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Love heavy and clunky tablets?

Said no one ever. CNET brings you the lightest and thinnest tablets on the market.