One reddit user got a big surprise Monday when UPS mistakenly delivered him parts of a drone belonging to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
User "Seventy_Seven" posted pictures of the unexpected haul to the image-sharing site Imgur and detailed a quest to identify and return the device on reddit. According to NOAA spokesman David Miller, the user received the wings and ground-control system of a Puma unmanned aerial system -- a relatively small aircraft that Miller describes as "basically a flying camera."
Eight boxes containing parts of the drone were shipped from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa to the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts, Miller said, where NOAA planned to use the aircraft to track bird migrations. But only seven arrived at the proper destination.
Miller says the mistake was made by UPS, not NOAA. And, according to Seventy_Seven's reddit comments, the shipping giant apparently was not very helpful:
The UPS guy on the phone had said that this had been in storage, and was something that had been lost in transit, or in some other way went undelivered. He kept saying that it was mine, and something that was intended to be delivered to me, but didn't make it originally.
According to the user's other comments, the package was addressed to the user and was delivered along with a weight-lifting bench the user had ordered.
UPS did not immediately respond to a Washington Post request for comment, but Miller said they are working with the company and the reddit user to get the parts into NOAA hands.
Update: A UPS spokesperson confirmed that the drone parts were mistakenly delivered to an individual in New York state and that the company has made arrangements to recover the package today, but said it is still investigating precisely what happened.