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Damage claims piling up over Army's infamous runaway blimp

ABERDEEN, Md. -- More trouble for the JLENS surveillance blimp. Two months after it broke loose in Aberdeen and floated away for hours, damage claims are now being filed, CBS Baltimore reports.

The aftermath could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Rick Ritter breaks it down.

Claims top $300,000 worth of damage and could cost even more when it's all said and done. The news comes just days after Congress decided to make big cuts to the program.

It's been a whirlwind two months for the U.S. Army after a bizarre escape from the JLENS blimp.

"It was like the white blimp of death," said Mike Lepke.

The incident continues to escalate.

"I just thought it was kind of hilarious they got away," said Liz Cannon.

Eyewitness describes military blimp descent

Late October, one of the defense blimps detached itself from its mooring at Aberdeen Proving Ground, drifting more than 100 miles away from Maryland before deflating and landing in Pennsylvania, turning into the laughing stock of social media.

"It comes down on their house, it could've been serious," one homeowner in Pennsylvania said.

An Army spokesperson confirms to WJZ they've received more than $300,000 in claims after the blimp dragged its steel tether line that's more than a half a mile long, knocking out power for thousands and damaging businesses and homes.

"When something like that gets away and causes even more damage, you can't keep track of it and you're just flushing money down the toilet," said Cannon.

Fighter jets scramble as Army blimp floats away

Just days ago, Congress cut $30 million out of the JLENS budget, meaning the program in Aberdeen could be in serious jeopardy.

"It's appropriate because JLENS right now is being looked at, investigated," said Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.

Congressman Ruppersberger says even if the program goes, the U.S. must have similar technology that can detect missiles or threats-a decision that most likely won't come until the government finds out exactly how the blimp got away.

More than a dozen people filed claims. The total damage could increase because they can file up to two years after the incident.

The blimps had more than $2 billion in funding. Both are grounded until the Army's investigation is complete.

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