London’s Gatwick Airport Shuts Down Due To ‘Deliberate’ Drone, 10,000 Affected
By Yoon Sann Wong, 21 Dec 2018
Image via Shutterstock
What’s believed to be an intentional drone intrusion has shut down London’s entire Gatwick Airport, affecting 10,000 passengers during this peak festive travel period.
Roughy 4,000 travelers are now stranded at Gatwick, while 6,000 were onboard flights that had to be diverted. 760 flights were either canceled or delayed due to safety concerns, following the gadget’s appearance over the airport’s runways on Thursday.
Police believe that the interruption is a purposeful attempt to disrupt the airport’s operations, but assured that there is “absolutely no indications to suggest this is terror-related.”
The search for the culprit is still underway. Nearly 20 police units are on the hunt for the machine’s operator, after the first airborne device was sighted above Gatwick Airport on Wednesday evening.
Till now, police have avoided shooting down the drone in fear that a stray bullet will injure somebody. According to Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, the military will be stepping in to aid the police.
Sussex Police Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw explained that the drone vanishes each time authorities believe they’d gotten close to its operator. The drone then reappears upon considerations of reopening the airfield.
Since newer drones are bigger and poses more range, it is tougher for the police to zero in on its operator. In this case, the drone has been described as being of an “industrial specification,” that is, not the average drone that are smaller in size, which are often sold to amateur enthusiasts.
Drones pose serious dangers to flying airplanes as they can get sucked into the vessel’s jet engine, or crash through its windshield, thereby incapacitating the pilot.
Laws have been tightened in Britain after a growing number of close calls with drones were being reported by pilots. Flying a drone within one kilometer of an airport carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.
Gatwick to remain closed for the rest of Thursday, and Friday's situation is "fluid", airport chief says https://t.co/lQY7CH6sL0— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) December 20, 2018
The Government has gone to ground on Gatwick suggesting the drone attack is serious beyond the utter chaos being suffered by passengers..No one in authority is saying anything 20 hours on. We must assume therefore that the agents of this drone incident are very serious operators.— Jon Snow (@jonsnowC4) December 20, 2018
14.15: Our runway is still closed because of drone sightings. Flights are cancelled up to at least 16.00 today, while we constantly review the situation. Please do not set out for the airport for your flight without checking with your airline first. We're sorry for the disruption— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport) December 20, 2018
The Battle of Gatwick pic.twitter.com/9Zvd8NrBcG— Fergus Haworth (@HaworthF) December 21, 2018
[via CBS News, main image via Shutterstock]
More related news