News World Drone crashes into British Airways plane
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Drone crashes into British Airways plane

A British Airways Airbus A320 plane similar to the one that was struck.
AAP
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A British Airways plane coming in to land at Heathrow Airport has been struck by what is believed to be a drone, police said.

An investigation had been launched into the incident, which follows a string of near misses involving drones.

The Airbus A320 with 132 passengers and five crew was on its final descent when the suspected drone hit the front of the aircraft on Sunday (AEST), London’s Metropolitan Police said.

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“A pilot on an inbound flight into Heathrow Airport from Geneva reported to police that he believed a drone had struck the aircraft,” a police spokeswoman said.

Fortunately, the plane landed safely and a British Airways spokesman said it was examined by engineers and was cleared to operate its next flight.

“Safety and security are always our first priority and we will give the police every assistance with their investigation,” the spokesman said.

The police spokeswoman said investigations were continuing and no arrests had yet been made.

After the incident, Aviation Policing based at Heathrow warned via Twitter: “This is dangerous, it is also a crime. Please be aware of the rules before you start flying a drone”.

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman told the BBC it was “totally unacceptable” to fly drones near airports and anyone breaking the rules can face “severe penalties, including imprisonment”.

Between April and October last year there were 23 near-misses between drones and aircraft, said the UK Airprox Board.

In one incident on September 22, a Boeing 777 reported narrowly passing a drone as it was taking off.

Investigators concluded that the drone was at the same height as the aircraft and within 25m of it.

A drone then came within a few metres of an Airbus A319 landing at Heathrow only a few days later on September 30.

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