Pennsylvania State Police deflated the wayward surveillance blimp on Thursday with roughly 100 shotgun blasts, according to a military official at the scene.
U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Villa said it could take days, maybe weeks, to remove the blimp, which broke loose in Maryland before coming down into trees in the Pennsylvania countryside Wednesday.
The Army is sending a two-person accident-investigation team to Pennsylvania to look into why the blimp floated away. Michael Negard, spokesman for the Army Combat Readiness Center, says the investigators are from Fort Rucker, Alabama.
He says the investigation is considered "Class A," a label applied to an event that might have caused at least $2 million in property damage; involved a destroyed, missing or abandoned Army aircraft or missile; or caused injury.
The blimp is in two "mostly intact" pieces, according to Villa. The main body and the tail section are a few hundred meters apart in trees along a ravine in a hard-to-access area. He said the "hows and whys" of what happened are under investigation.
The blimp, fitted with sensitive defense technology, escaped from Aberdeen Proving Ground. Its dangling tether caused power outages in Pennsylvania before it hit the ground. Nobody was hurt.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.