U.S. Customs Grounds Fleet of Drones After Crash at Sea

Jan 28 (Reuters) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection has grounded its fleet of drones after a crew was forced to crash a pilotless craft off the coast of Southern California because of a mechanical problem, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

The crew operating the malfunctioning drone deliberately downed it in the Pacific Ocean, 20 miles southwest of San Diego at about 11:15 p.m. local time on Monday, the official said.

The drone and systems on board were worth $12 million, he said.

“While on patrol off the Southern California coast, the unmanned aircraft, a maritime variant of the Predator B, experienced a mechanical failure,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Friel said in a statement.

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