Suspected drone strikes British Airways flight as it approaches Heathrow Airport
Police are investigating an incident in which a drone is believed to have struck a passenger aircraft approaching Heathrow.
It is believed a drone may have hit the British Airways plane, which was nearing the end of its flight from Geneva with 132 people on board, at around 12.50 BST on Sunday.
BA said in a statement that it would provide “every assistance” to the police. No arrests have been made, but if the drone is confirmed, it’ll be the first such incident in the UK, according to the BBC.
Drones have veered closely to planes and airspace, but aren’t thought to have actually come into contact with a passenger aircraft to date.
The Metropolitan Police said that the plane was hit by the suspected drone at about 1,700ft (580m) while flying over south-west London.
No debris has been found, but police are asking anyone who finds parts of a possible drone in the Richmond area to get in touch. The Met’s aviation unit is leading the investigation.
The pilot confirmed after landing that the Airbus A320 had suffered a collision.
A BA spokesperson said that the aircraft landed safely, and “was fully examined” by its engineers. It “was cleared to operate its next flight”.
Chief superintendent Martin Hendy, head of the Met’s aviation policing command, said the incident clearly underpinned “the very real dangers of reckless, negligent and sometimes malicious use of drones”.
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority told the BBC that it is “totally unacceptable” to fly drones close to airports.