Wednesday, August 18, 1999

Man found in cave, fearing meteor

The Associated Press

        CALDWELL, Ohio — When a Kennedy Space Center computer programmer thought a meteor was headed for Earth, he headed for a cave in southeast Ohio.

        Deputies responding to a report of an unfamiliar car found Lloyd Albright, along with camping equipment, dried food and 16 guns, said Noble County Sheriff Landon Smith.

        “He very sincerely thought there was a meteor that was going to hit the Atlantic Ocean and cause a tidal wave 200 feet high,” Sheriff Smith said. “It was going to go up the coast, take Florida for sure and there would be water all over Georgia.”

        Mr. Albright was found Aug. 10. He thought the meteor was going to hit at 4 a.m. the next day and had been in the cave since at least Aug. 8, Sheriff Smith said Tuesday.

        The sheriff said finding Mr. Albright's car, filled with guns and ammunition, led deputies to search nearby woods. The guns were legal, the sheriff said, but raised concerns that someone might be in danger.

        Mr. Albright had been drinking water that dripped through the cave ceiling and keeping food cold in a pool of water.

        He was charged with disorderly conduct, then released after posting bond. He was escorted to the interstate and told to head home.

        “He was nothing but pleasant and easy to get along with,” the sheriff said.

        Mr. Albright, 47, who works on space shuttle data processing, said he was thankful for the sheriff's help. He told the Columbus Dispatch that the meteor strike, from fragments of Comet Lee, could occur any time within nine years.

        “Sheriff Smith did me a favor getting me out of there,” Mr. Albright told the Dispatch in a story published Tuesday.

        NASA said the closest Comet Lee will come to Earth is 77 million miles by the end of September.


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