I have, in my small number of years, read quite a bit about Area 51. I know about the cameo dudes, Janet air, Telegraph Mt. and all sorts of little details. In literally hundereds of pages of research, I have yet to find even the slightest account of somebody acutally making a run for the invisable border, or even tresspassing more than a few meters into the base. Has such a thing happened and is there an example posted somewhere online?
As a footnote, would Area 51, since it exists outside of normal civil law, be required to report killing a tresspasser to the local authorities, or even the tresspasser’s family? I’m not asking if they would be likely to, but if they are Required to do so.
I imagine they’d be required to report it once the cops come calling. Police investigating a death or disappearance can subpoena government organizations, including the military.
Now, if I killed someone and didn’t report it, I could be charged with failure to report a crime in addition to manslaughter/murder. What if they didn’t report it UNTIL the cops called? Would that be a crime? Interesting question, since the killing wouldn’t be a crime…
If I recall correctlly, Area 51 is at the very least exempt from most enviromental laws. I don’t have a cite but its well known that a class-action suit was brought against the base by former employees who alleged health issues due to the base’s dumping of toxic waste. The suit was thrown out via executive order of Bill Clinton, exempting the base from the applicible laws.
Art Bell once had a caller claiming to be flying in a lightplane towards Area 51 who was going to either land on the base or at least buzz it. He got shot down. Now, I’m certain that whomever it was who called in was pulling a fast one, but it is an account.
I have heard from a fairly reliable source that my dad worked there when our family was living in Las Vegas. (Okay, so my dad told me, but we watched him board the Janet commuter planes quite often, so he either worked at Area 51, or another base in the area, or maybe he was just an extremely well-paid steward on the plane. At any rate, I believe him.)
He says he hasn’t heard of any stories of people getting past security while he was there, but he doubts news of any kind of break-in would spread unless someone actually got to the buildings. And the buildings are a long ways away from the outskirts, across miles of desert and over a mountain range.
He did say, and this is getting off-topic, that the biggest threat to Area 51 wasn’t from the Russians or ET fans, but from bored test pilots. He recalled one day when he got in to work and all the windows were blown out of the building. Apparantly, early that morning a fresh young pilot thought he’d “push the envelope” while doing a fly-by. My dad guesses the pilot probably spent the rest of the day standing rigidly at attention, telling a general “yes sir” and “no sir”, before being shipped off to northern Greenland.
Oh, and the nuke tests. There is a very practical reason the exclusion zone is so large at Area 51 – the area was used extensively for underground and above-ground nuclear weapons tests. One test in the '50s went off-course and scattered radioactive materials across the inhabited parts of the base. There are sections of the test range that are still a little too radiologically hot to wander around in, and the groundwater is unsafe to drink.
Though personally, I think the sun and the bullets would kill you before the rads will.
Strictly speaking, Area 51, or as it is more-or-less officially known, Groom Dry Lake Test Facility on the Nellis Air Force Range, isn’t strictly speaking a “base”. It is a collection of buildings and warehouses with a flightline, used for the development of advanced (and often undisclosed) Air Force projects; previously and most noteworthy the U-2 and A-12/SR-71 reconnaissance air craft, and the B-2 Spirit and F-117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft. Development continues today on various stealth weapon and reconnaissance programs, and dozens of civilian tech-reps fly into and out of Groom Lake every day from the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.
While lethal force is threatened on signage around the base (allegedly; I’ve never been to Groom Lake) that’s not terribly unusual; you’ll find similar warnings near facilities containing nuclear devices, and in reality, you’ll likely be detected, confronted, and detained by guards long before you’ll get near anything worth pulling out your Minox for. Since most of Nelllis AFR is off-limits to unescorted public use, and a substantial area around Groom Lake is all a restricted air zone, you’d have to cross a lot of area undetected before you get anywhere near the flightline and complex.
The Groom Lake area is adjacent to the Nevada Test Site, where the 1957 Plumbbob series of nuclear tests scattered fallout over the surrounding areas, including all of what is now NAFR. I believe it was Plumbobb-Hood, a balloon-lofted atmospheric test, that covered the Groom Lake area with enough fallout to require evacuation.
Although there are areas that are unsuited for long-term habitation I don’t know that there’s anyplace with surface conditions too radioactive to hike over (though you may not want to breathe in too much of the dust lest you raise your long-term chances for cancer.) The groundwater contamination issue is more likely due to jet fuel and industrial solvents rather than the nuclear testing.
Meanwhile, I haven’t seen anything as cool as an atomic-powered cocktail shaker. UFOs and alien autopsies? I wish.