Is Area 51 the Hotel California of secret U.S. military bases where visitors – even accidental ones – can check out but never leave? That’s what riders on an Area 51 tour bus that normally just creeps right up to the fence feared when their vehicle was surrounded by armed military officers who informed them that they were inside the base and in big trouble.
Area 51 is, of course, the military base north of Las Vegas known for its secret aircraft testing and rumored UFO storage. According to a report by KLAS TV in Las Vegas, the poor tourists were on a bus operated by Adventure Photo Tours, one of the many companies offering tours of the outer perimeter of Area 51 with stops at the Extraterrestrial Highway sign, the Little A’le’inn, the alien and UFO gift shop and the gate. Apparently driver Denis Ryan got distracted and he and his four passengers innocently passed the signs warning of the possibility of deadly force.
The officers detained the bus until local deputies from Lincoln County, Nevada, arrived to cite everyone for trespassing, a misdemeanor with a possible $650 fine. Fortunately for them, the tour company had a secret camera – actually, two of them, one outside on the hood facing forward and one inside recording the driver and passengers.
They were shown to the county District Attorney Dan Hogue who agreed that the out-of-state tourists were innocent. Unfortunately, driver Denis Ryan was fined and will not be able to drive an Area 51 tour bus for two years. The company was let off the hook after agreeing not to release video from the forward cameras showing the military officers in a white truck.
The tourists are safely back at home and have no abduction stories to tell. Well, none that they can remember.