Mysterious substance falls on oil company : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Thursday, November 1

Mysterious substance falls on oil company Dave Shelton Published: Oct 31, 2001

State health authorities are investigating a mysterious substance sprayed on a small part of Hernando County Monday. Employees of Hernando Oil, on Cortez Boulevard near the county sheriff's office, reported that a small, single-engine airplane flew over that area between 1:30 and 2 p.m. Monday. "I was outside talking to a customer when I saw this plane going over real low," said Gail Brooks, 43, who works at Hernando Oil. "I said, 'Boy, that's the first plane I've seen since the terrorist attacks." She said the airplane was a powder blue color, flying toward the northwest. Suddenly, something landed near her with a "plop." "I thought it was bird poop, like a whole flock had gone over," she said. "My first reaction was yuck, is there any on my clothes?" Brooks said the substance was falling like huge raindrops and dried quickly to a white powder. The airplane, meanwhile, made a turn back to the southeast, flying in the direction of the county airport, Brooks said. Through the rest of the afternoon Brooks stewed over the incident. "I didn't want to be labeled a nut," she said. "I didn't want a big commotion and have it turn out I was being stupid." But by 5:30 p.m., the possibility that a terrorist attack was underway concerned her. She called 911. Sheriff's deputies alerted the county Emergency Management office and responded to the oil company complaint by dispatching the Brooksville Fire Department. Traces of the substance were found in the oil company yard, sealed in plastic bags and turned over to the state health department for analysis. An analysis is expected to be completed today. Annette Doying, assistant emergency management manager, said neither the mosquito control department or the state forestry department were aware of any legal spraying going on in Hernando County. Doying said county airport manager Bob Mattingly said no airplane matching Brooks' description had taken off from the county airport.

-- Tee (, November 01, 2001

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