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Small drone found on White House grounds: sources

Last Updated Jan 26, 2015 2:54 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- A small drone was found on White House grounds early Monday morning.

A Secret Service Uniformed Division officer posted on the south grounds of the White House complex saw and heard a "quad copter" device, approximately two feet in diameter, "flying at a very low altitude and ultimately crashing on the southeast side of the complex" at 3:08 a.m., according to U.S. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary. The Secret Service immediately sounded an alert and locked down the complex until the device was examined and cleared.

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A picture of the drone that crashed at the White House Monday morning.
United States Secret Service

In a statement, the Secret Service said that an individual called the agency at about 9:30 a.m. to say they were responsible for operating the drone.

"The individual has been interviewed by Secret Service agents and been fully cooperative. Initial indications are that this incident occurred as a result of recreational use of the device," the statement said.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said early indications were that the device posed no threat to anyone in the building.

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, are on a three-day visit to India, with a stop planned in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday before they return to Washington.

The White House was dark during Monday's pre-dawn hours and emergency vehicles with lights flashing were clustered near the southeast entrance to the mansion. A security perimeter had been set up around the White House to restrict access.