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Dublin: 4°C Tuesday 7 December 2021

'Storm Area 51' attendees fail to storm Area 51 as far fewer than expected turn out

It was a spur-of-the-moment joke that spiraled into a large-scale event.

storm-area-51-events Source: PA Images

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE arrived to he fringes of the the secretive Area 51 as a joke to storm the secretive military facility spiraled into a large-scale event – but it passed with a festive atmosphere and few arrests.

A 20-year-old from Bakersfield, California, Matty Roberts, created an event on Facebook earlier this summer titled ‘Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us’.

It quickly gained momentum – even after organisers stressed that it was a joke – leading to fears that the US military could be faced with thousands at the gates of the base. Emergency plans were drawn up to handle massive crowds.

But, largely, it passed without incident.

storm-area-51-events Source: PA Images

Three more people were arrested yesterday on the remote once-secret military base, Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said, bringing to five the tally since Thursday of accused trespassers during Alienstock and Area 51 Basecamp events and festivals in the tiny desert towns of Rachel and Hiko.

Several minor injuries were reported, and one man was treated for dehydration by festival medics in Rachel before returning to the party.

No extraterrestrials or UFOs were sighted, to the disappointment of those in attendance.

“There’s a great sense of community among everyone here,” said John Derryberry, who drove with his girlfriend, Sarah Shore, from Nashville, Tennessee.

“It started as a joke and now people are getting to know each other,” said Tracy Ferguson (23) of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He said the internet gave him the idea to drive to Nevada with his girlfriend, Jade Gore (19).

storm-area-51-events Source: PA Images

Almost 100 people went at 3am local time (10am Irish time) yesterday to the best-known back gate of the US Air Force base, near of the tiny town of Rachel, and another 40 made a more difficult trek to a lesser-known gate in Tikaboo Valley, Lee said.

About 300 went to the Tikaboo gate during daylight, and another 800 people made the dusty 13km drive to the Rachel gate during the day, Lee said.

One, a woman in her 60s from California, was arrested after making it clear to sheriff’s deputies, her husband and everyone around her that she was going to trespass no matter what.

“It was just something she wanted to do,” said the sheriff, who was at the Rachel gate at the time.

storm-area-51-events Source: PA Images

Two men were arrested after military security officers found them in the mountains inside the perimeter of the base somewhere between the two gates, Lee said. Authorities were trying to determine how to tow their vehicle out of the rugged area.

The gates are marked by bright floodlights, watchful cameras and, at the Rachel gate, a squat tan bunker building with blackout windows — all surrounded by razor wire.

The sheriff in neighboring Nye County reported that about 40 people dispersed after “heated warnings” from officers about 3 am Friday near a base gate not far from a conspicuously green Area 51 Alien Center about 90 minutes’ drive west of Las Vegas.

Roberts, who sparked the Area 51 phenomenon with a late-night Facebook post in June and then broke with Little A’Le’Inn owner Connie West over production of the Rachel event, hosted an evening event on Thursday at an outdoor venue in downtown Las Vegas — also using the Alienstock name.

Area 51 Basecamp was featuring music, speakers and movies yesterday into today at the Alien Research Center in Hiko. Business owner George Harris said he expected a crowd of 5,000, but Lee said the audience and nearby campers appeared to number in the hundreds.

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Associated Press

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