Investigation Closes on Reported Drone/Airplane Hit: Object Still Unknown

It turns out that an object police “believed to have been a drone” that reportedly hit the front of a British Airways (BA) plane in the U.K. was not a drone after all.

According to the Associated Press, Patrick McLoughlin, the U.K.’s secretary of state for transport, says the event is not believed to have been “a drone incident.” Further, the government’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch has closed its investigation due to “insufficient information on what object was involved.”

Initially, the British Metropolitan Police said that a pilot on an inbound BA flight into London’s Heathrow Airport from Geneva reported to police that a possible drone hit the front of the airplane at approximately 1,700 feet at 12:38 p.m. on April 17.

Law enforcement was not able to recover any drone debris, and no damage was found to the airplane. However, a plethora of media reports highlighting the “drone collision” incident and potential dangers of the technology followed.

For example, Chief Superintendent Martin Hendy, head of Metropolitan Police Service’s aviation policing command, said in a release that the event “highlight[ed] the very real dangers of reckless, negligent and sometimes malicious use of drones” and that the police would continue its work with the Civil Aviation Authority to make sure drone operators “understand the dangers and the law.”

However, about a week ago, Robert Goodwill, the U.K.’s minister of transport, warned against “overreact[ing] too much” about the unconfirmed report of the drone, which “may have even been a plastic bag or something,” he said, as reported by The Telegraph.


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