Siege of top-secret Area 51 began as a joke. Officials prepared to use deadly force in response.

Before the "Storm Area 51" spinoff event, "Area 51 Basecamp", which will take place near Alamo in Nevada on September 20, 2019, a car is equipped with "Area 51" written on its back.
A UFO enthusiast made a joke of posting a Facebook event about "storming" Area 51 military base. Federal and state law enforcement knew that it was not a joke. They prepared a lethal response to stop revelers from entering the restricted area. Records were recently disclosed.

The U.S. Air Force Installation Area 51 is located in southern Nevada's Groom Lake. It is a salt flat approximately 80 miles (129 km) northwest of Las Vegas. The base's remote location, restricted access, and lack of visibility have fuelled speculation that military officials may be conducting secret experiments on extraterrestrials at the site, as well as storing evidence about alien visitors and UFOs.

The public cannot visit Area 51. Nearly 2 million people signed up for the Sept. 20 raid by a Facebook group called "Storm Area 51. They Can't Stop All of Us". According to Rolling Stone's recent government communications, the massive scale of this proposed event raised alarms at both local and federal levels. Rolling Stone reported that dozens of law enforcement agencies prepared responses to the planned onslaught. This included "automated fatal force countermeasures."

Related: 15 fascinating facts about Area 51

According to the Facebook post, the plan for Storm Area 51 was to have attendees gather in the Nevada desert close to Area 51 at sunrise, then charge the gates and, once inside, "see the aliens" and possibly conduct an extraterrestrial rescue mission, Live Science previously reported. Matty Roberts was a 20-year old college student from Bakersfield, California. He created the post June 27 and claimed that it was a complete joke. Roberts spoke to the BBC Sept. 13 2019.

However, law enforcement agencies were not amused and prepared accordingly.

The operational plan for "Storm Area 51" was published by the Nevada Department of Public Safety Investigation Division. It stated that "a certain portion of participants may be armied and could expect armed conflict." Property of the People, a non-partisan government transparency group, obtained the 2019 document and shared it with Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone reported that the document contained hundreds of pages detailing plans and descriptions of transportation for Area 51 employees.

Rolling Stone reported that the document also detailed several YouTubers' attempts at tracking employees as they entered or left the base.

Although most of the "Storm Area 51” attendees didn't intend to invade restricted military sites, there was still the possibility for terrorist groups (domestic and foreign) to use this event to test security at sensitive sites and infiltrate the groups that plan to storm the facility. According to the report, the Nevada desert's harsh conditions could lead to panic, increased risk of wildfires and lack of water, as well as increase the likelihood of mass casualties.

Roberts cancelled "Storm Area 51" after online interest in the raid failed to materialize, leaving him with only nine days. Roberts suggested that people visit "Alienstock", a UFO-celebrating event in Las Vegas. However, there were still thousands of people gathered in Rachel, Nevada on the designated day. The Guardian reported this on September 24, 2019.

According to the Guardian, however, the majority of the crowd were too busy recording their presence on YouTube and Instagram and no one went to the gate to search for hidden evidence of UFOs.

Original publication on Live Science