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The truth remains out there: Area 51 event visitors head home

RACHEL — Four days of extraterrestrial reveling in Storm Area 51 events concluded Sunday without any alien abductions or UFO sightings reported.

Ready to handle an influx of up to 30,000 people, Alienstock in Rachel saw a peak of 3,000 festival-goers, according to Eric Holt, Lincoln County Emergency manager. The Area 51 Basecamp event saw around 100 on Friday, leading to a scaled-down Saturday, with just vendors left on site.

Four crashes occurred during the festival dates, including two that involved vehicles striking cows on state Route 375 and two rollover crashes. One woman was treated for drug-related intoxication Saturday night and was released, Holt said.

Six arrests were made over the four days, all at the pair of security gates leading to the Nevada Test and Training Range, where Area 51 is. Five involved trespassing and one involved indecent exposure for urinating on the back gate near Rachel. No arrests were made Saturday night, Holt said.

“Our operations ended at about midnight,” he said. “We closed out incident dispatch and released some of our officers at the (Area 51) gates and turned things back over to the local jurisdiction.”

People made the drive up the two dirt roads leading to the two gates, with the largest gathering taking place early Friday morning, where about 100 people showed up to “storm” the gate.

A rollover crash that occurred Saturday morning on a dry lake bed near Rachel injured two people; one was transported via helicopter to a medical center in Utah, while the other was taken to University Medical Center. Both had moderate to severe injuries.

Tear-down and cleanup at Alienstock began early Sunday morning, with vendors heading out and volunteers helping to clean up the acres of land where the festivities took place.

At 8 a.m., the incident command post setup in Hickaboo, between Rachel and Hiko, was decommissioned.

“Everybody started heading home,” Holt said. “We’ll be moving trailers and equipment and getting everything back to their home base.”

More than a dozen federal, state and local agencies were involved in the operation, Holt said.

“The fact that Lincoln County was able to pull this together with the help and support of all of our mutual aid partners across the state, we couldn’t have done it without them,” he said. “We had a good, coordinated plan, that was prepared (for) up to 30,000 people. Even though we didn’t see that type of crowd, I think this was a success.”

Little A’Le’Inn owner and Alienstock organizer Connie West said she’s ready to take some time off, but is already looking forward to next year.

“I already have two rooms booked for next year,” West said. “They said they’re coming even if nothing is going to happen. But it will be a do-it-yourself thing again next year, just more organized.”

Holt said West’s plans will have to go in front of the Lincoln County Commission for approval.

“They’ll have to make the decision on if they will permit it next year,” he said. “I think it will be a better-organized event if they do have it, because they will have much more time to prepare for it.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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