HARRAH, Wash. — Almost a week after one of Google’s high-tech Loon balloons crashed in powerlines along Harrah Road in the Lower Yakima Valley, the technology giant acknowledged the incident Tuesday.
The Federal Aviation Administration told the Yakima Herald-Republic on Thursday that Google reported to it the device had fallen through commercial airspace and that air traffic controllers had kept planes safely out of the way. The crash caused a small power failure, according to Pacific Power.
Google, however, declined to comment at the time.
But a number of other newspapers and television stations eventually picked up the story and, in response, Google offered a statement Tuesday saying:
“Since launching Project Loon in New Zealand last year, we’ve continued to do research flights to improve the technology. We coordinate with local air traffic control authorities and have a team dedicated to recovering the balloons when they land.”
The balloon crashed about 1 a.m. and, according to a Pacific Power spokesman, the remains of the balloon were cleared away from the site by 6 a.m. He did not know if or when Google employees had arrived at the scene.
This balloon was apparently part of the company’s efforts to improve the technology, which it believes could eventually broadcast wireless Internet signals in remote places.