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Drone destroyed in crash on takeoff at Florida air force base

July 18, 2013 at 9:31 AM

PANAMA CITY, Fla., July 18 (UPI) -- A drone aircraft launched from a U.S. Air Force base in the Florida Panhandle has been destroyed after it crashed and exploded while taking off, officials say.

The crash along U.S. Highway 98 in the Silver Flag area of Tyndall Air Force closed the road, which was expected to remain closed for 24 hours, WJHG-TV, Panama City Beach, reported Wednesday.

Base and local police and safety officials said the highway was closed as a precaution after small fires broke out at the crash site.

Officials said they also had not determined if a self-destruct device on the drone had detonated. It is powered by a battery that is depleted after 24 hours.

It was the second such incident in the last two weeks. A drone was intentionally destroyed over the Gulf of Mexico on July 10 after base officials said they had been unable to land the aircraft.

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