Area 51 will be ambushed

Las Vegas -

Actually, they wanted to see aliens - and storm a secret base of the US military. But it didn't get that far on Friday.

However, despite warnings, hundreds of people insisted on coming to Rachel, a town of 50 souls in the south of the desert in the US state of Nevada, to celebrate a festival and to camp - and at least the highly secured entrance to the mythical one Area 51 to be seen.

At the end of June, the student Matty Roberts from California created an event on Facebook and called for people to storm the restricted area, which has persisted rumors of aliens, crashed UFOs and secret military projects. The response was enormous - two million Facebook users agreed, 1.5 million showed interest. It should all have been just a joke.

Roberts finally dedicated the event to the "Alienstock" festival, which was moved to Las Vegas shortly before the event. Because of a lack of infrastructure, Rachel could have ended in a "humanitarian catastrophe," it said. Only one local bar continued to stick to the festival plans.

Residents like Joerg Arnu did not want to breathe a sigh of relief: They feared “mob scenes” from visitors who had made the long journey and had hoped for more from the event. As a precaution, they had put up warning signs in front of their houses and set up radio links between the neighbors. In the end, the situation on site was "quite calm", an estimated 2000 people came to Rachel, the native of Lower Saxony told the German press agency on Friday (local time).

A few "crazy guys" were there, some visitors had dressed up as aliens in full-body costumes, and now and then music could be heard. Basically, they are tourists "who look at everything" and briskly drive back and forth between the place and the gate to Area 51, he said.

Not far from Rachel there was another event, the "Storm Area 51 Basecamp" in Hiko. There it should also be about Area 51, UFOs and extraterrestrial life - with music, food trucks and documentary film screening. Just without the big fuss. (dpa)