Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a property damage complaint at one of the astronomy facilities on the summit of Mauna Kea on Tuesday morning (March 29).
Officers responded to a 9:30 a.m. report of a traffic accident involving a disorderly man at the summit of Mauna Kea. Further reports indicated that the man then attempted to forcibly enter one of the facilities.
Police arrested 30-year-old James Coleman of Kailua-Kona on suspicion of criminal property damage. He is being held at the South Hilo cellblock pending further investigation.
Doug Arnott from Arnotts Lodge reported the following from one of his guides:
Breaking News….apparently around 10:15 a vehicle attempted to break into VLBA telescope on Mauna Kea by ramming the Chain Link fence and once inside hitting other things…this is second hand info from one of my guides who had Cruise Ship guests at the Visitor Center.
Apparently Fire and Ambulance were called and Police are on the way…anyone gets better news…please post.
Statement from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory:
A lone attacker drove a vehicle onto the Mauna Kea station of the Very
Long Baseline Array (VLBA) Tuesday, damaging the installation’s fence,
building, and official vehicles. The attacker was apprehended by
law-enforcement officers. The station’s two employees were uninjured.
Initial reports indicate that the radio-telescope antenna is undamaged.
Site personnel are assessing the damage to the building.
The VLBA is a continent-wide radio telescope system, with ten,
25-meter-diameter dish antennas. The Mauna Kea antenna is the
westernmost, with one at St. Croix in the Caribbean, and eight on the
U.S. mainland. The VLBA is operated from the National Radio Astronomy
Observatory’s Science Operations Center in Socorro, New Mexico.
The VLBA is used by astronomers around the world to make high-resolution
images of celestial objects, and has made landmark contributions to our understanding of the Universe.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National
Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated