British police release suspects, say there might never have been a drone at Gatwick Airport

Jack Taylor/Getty ImagesUK police said there was ‘always a possibility’ there might not have been any drones at Gatwick Airport last week. Here, police stand near equipment on the roof of a building near Gatwick Airport.
  • Gatwick Airport, the UK’s second-largest airport, shut down for 36 hours last week after people said they saw drones flying near the runways.
  • Police on Sunday said there was “always a possibility” there might not have been any drones at the airport in the first place, because they have no footage of any drones at the airport.
  • However, the force said it is still investigating 67 witness reports of drone sightings at the airport last week.
  • More than 120,000 passengers had their flights disrupted in some way because of the shutdown.

There might not have been a drone at Gatwick Airport in the first place, British police said, after the country’s second-largest airport closed for 36 hours last week over reports of drone activity on the runway.

Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said on Sunday there was “always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place,” because police relied on human witnesses to the sighting, The Guardian and The Times of London reported.

Tingley’s comments came as police released a local man and woman who had been arrested on suspicion of “criminal drone activity,” and offered a £50,000 ($US63,300) reward to anyone with significant information about the drone.

Read more:
Whoever used a drone to shut down Gatwick Airport for 32 hours has evaded capture, and could easily do it again

Tingley added that police have “no available footage” of drone activity around the airport, which is just outside London. It puts into doubt a video, published last week by MailOnline, of what the news site said was one of the drones hovering over Gatwick during the shutdown.

He said, however, police were still “actively investigating sightings of drone activity” at the airport as police had received 67 reports of drone sightings between December 19 and 21 from the public, passengers, police officers, and airport staff, according to The Guardian.

Police are also examining a damaged drone found near the airport last week. Wet weather might have washed away other evidence, Tingley said, according to The Guardian.

Gatwick airport drone cancelled delayed flightsDan Kitwood/Getty ImagesMore than 120,000 passengers had their flights disrupted during the shutdown last week.

More than 120,000 passengers had their flights disrupted in some way when the airport closed down last week. About 1,000 aircraft were either canceled or diverted, according to the BBC.

The British army, who was deployed to Gatwick to respond to the drone reports last week, used unidentified military technology to help airport authorities with the situation, the BBC said.

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