Crashed US reconnaissance drone Found Floating in Philippines

A US reconnaissance drone sits on the tarmac at Edwin Andrews Airbase in the Philippines. (File photo)

Philippine navy officials said Monday a suspected American drone has been found floating in the ocean off a central province, prompting them to deploy a ship with ordnance experts after fishermen reported the object may have been a bomb.

The 3-meter (10-foot) orange BQM-74e drone marked "Navy" was found by a Filipino diver and fishermen off Masbate Island on Sunday and has been turned over to local navy authorities, Philippine navy officer Capt. Jason Rommel Galang said, adding it was not clear why the unmanned aerial vehicle ended up off Masbate.

"We will first study this drone but initially it appears to be a UAV used largely in reconnaissance," he stated, adding that it was not clear why the BQM-74E drone had crashed.

The US embassy in Manila was informed of the discovery of the drone, which is expected to be turned over to US authorities.

The Philippines has seen a resurgence of US troops since late 2011, when the White House announced a turn in Washington's foreign, economic and security policy toward the region.

Some 600 US soldiers have been stationed in the southern Philippines since 2002 to train local troops there.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino said last year that US drones were allowed to fly over the country for reconnaissance purposes.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Bettina Malone said efforts were under way to determine if the drone was one of those used in American military air target training exercises and why it was in the waters off Masbate, about 380 kilometers (235 miles) southeast of Manila. The type of drone found was not armed and not used for surveillance, she said.

Masbate is in a region where communist guerrillas have a presence. U.S. counterterrorism troops, who are barred from local combat, have used surveillance drones to help Filipino soldiers track down al-Qaida-linked extremists in the country's south. At least two U.S. drones have been reported to have crashed and were recovered by villagers in the past on southern Mindanao island. (http://is.gd/E2aW23 / http://is.gd/9IiAIa )

Press TV & ABC News 

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