Police are investigating an apparent collision between a passenger jet and a remote-controlled drone near Heathrow airport.
On Sunday, a British Airways A320 Airbus hit what appeared to be a drone when coming in to land at the London airport, Sky News reports.
The drone hit the front of the plane, which was carrying 132 people — but caused no damage, and the plane was subsequently cleared to continue flying.
“Our aircraft landed safely, was fully examined by our engineers and it was cleared to operate its next flight,” a spokesperson told Sky. “Safety and security are always our first priority and we will give the police every assistance with their investigation.”
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed it is aware of the incident, and says the Metropolitan Police is now investigating. No arrests have been made yet, but the apparent drone was recovered and enquiries are ongoing.
“Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations,” the CAA says. “The rules for flying drones are designed to keep all airspace users safe. It is totally unacceptable to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment.”
There has been a series of near misses near airports recently as drones have become more popular with hobbyists — but this seems to be the first time one has actually collided with a passenger jet. In Britain, drones have come within 25 meters or so of aircraft half a dozen times in the last year, according to a round-up from the BBC.
In one instance, a UAV missed a B737 near Stanstead by just five meters.
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