Santa’s travels to be tracked by Air Force


Washington : The US Air Force plans once again to follow Santa’s journey around the world starting Friday about 0700 GMT, when the legendary Christmas character will begin packing his sleigh and hitching his reindeer at the North Pole.

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The US Air Force will use a special kind of radar to track Santa’s progress across Russia, down through the South Pacific, and then westward across the globe, an Air Force spokesman told DPA.

An animated re-play of last year’s journey is posted on the tracking website, by NORAD, operated by the North American Aerospace Defence Command. The replay shows the sleigh whooshing across the Kremlin, the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London before reaching the Empire State Building in New York City.

The website offers multiple languages including German, Spanish, French, Italian.

According to legend, Santa makes his journey on Christmas Eve so the toys are under the special tree by Christmas morning – on Saturday this year.

The tracking tradition began in 1955 after an advertisement intended to entice callers to the Sears Roebuck store in Denver, Colorado, misprinted the telephone number – which turned out to be the hotline for US air defence, also located in Colorado.

The director of operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, played along with the first caller and had his staff “check” radar for Santa’s position. Children who called in were given updates on the progress. In the following years, volunteers were enlisted to answer the calls, and now the internet provides the fantasy tracking.

On the website, viewers can link through to Santa’s workshop, where a click offers games such as tic-tac-toe – quick entertainment for children impatient for Christmas morning to arrive.