Southwest Airlines took to social media on Sunday to joke that the mysterious metal monolith that recently disappeared from a remote area of Utah was one of their airport boarding signs. 

“Sorry y’all, we needed it back,” the airline tweeted alongside an image of the three-sided monolith with boarding numbers edited onto the picture. 

The airline also joked that “it’s all fun and games until we hear HAL 9000 on the intercom,” referencing the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which features a large black monolith.

Southwest Airlines credited Twitter user @iotapup for the edited image, joking that the individual helped the airline “get out stanchion back.” 


The strange structure was initially discovered on Nov. 18 by Utah officials during a mission to count sheep. The Utah Department of Public Safety confirmed last week that crew members with the department’s Aero Bureau were working with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to count bighorn sheep in a remote southeastern part of the state when workers spotted and investigated the monolith. 

However, the Bureau of Land Management in Utah said the monolith was removed Friday evening from the area of public lands, and it was not immediately clear who took it. 

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, which could be responsible for investigating the missing object, has previously said it is not dedicating resources to the disappearance of the structure.

The monolith quickly went viral, garnering theories ranging from a possible art installation to alien interference.

The only part of the structure that remained on Saturday was a triangular piece of metal at the previous site of the monolith. The Salt Lake Tribune reporter Zak Podmore shared a photo of metal at the site.