Saturday 16 December 2017

Lufthansa plane in near-miss with drone during Warsaw landing

The Lufthansa jet was on approach to Warsaw when it almost collided with the drone
The Lufthansa jet was on approach to Warsaw when it almost collided with the drone

A Lufthansa plane almost collided with a drone as it approached Warsaw international airport, Polish officials have revealed.

Warsaw airport spokesman Przemyslaw Przybylski said the incident occurred yesterday afternoon at around 4pm local time and the drone came within 300ft of the plane, which was arriving from Munich.

He said the near-collision occurred about three miles from the airport.

He added that police are investigating the incident to determine who operated the drone, which should not have been flying in that location.

Mikolaj Karpinski, of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, told the TVN24 broadcaster that the pilots immediately reported the drone to air traffic controllers, who redirected the plane.

Mr Karpinski said he considered the incident to be serious.

Lufthansa spokeswoman Bettina Rittberger was more hesitant about declaring the object a drone.

She said that "a black object appeared on the right side of the plane" at an altitude of 2,500ft and the crew "supposed that this object could be a drone".

She said she could not give more details until the investigation produces more results.

"Lufthansa had not encountered a similar situation before," she added.

Drones, unmanned flying aircraft operated by remote control, have been growing increasingly popular across the world, posing a threat to planes.

In New York, a commercial jet narrowly missed colliding with a drone as it neared LaGuardia airport in May.

In Poland, drones are inexpensive and easily available. Regulations largely ban them in a 12-mile radius around airports.

But Mr Przybylski, speaking on TVN24, said airport authorities are not able to check whether "some idiot does not suddenly decide to fly a drone in front of a landing plane".

Press Association

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