International

2 held over London airport drone incident

London, Dec 22 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 12/22/2018 12:32:16 PM IST

Two people were arrested in connection with the "criminal use of drones" at London Gatwick Airport, police said today, after three days of disruption affected tens of thousands of passengers during the pre-Christmas getaway.

Drones were first sighted hovering around Britain's second-busiest air hub on Wednesday, grinding the runway to a standstill and causing chaos for more than 120,000 people. "As part of our ongoing investigations into the criminal use of drones which has severely disrupted flights in and out of Gatwick Airport, Sussex Police made two arrests just after 10:00pm (2200 GMT) yesterday," the force's Superintendent James Collis said.

"Every line of enquiry will remain open to us until we are confident that we have mitigated further threats to the safety of passengers."

Police urged passengers and the public to remain vigilant around the airport, south of London, and report any further sightings.

Flights resumed Friday after a new drone sighting briefly forced planes to be grounded as a "precautionary measure", a Gatwick spokesman said.

Sussex Police said officers had been using "a range of tactics" to hunt for the mystery drone operators and "build resilience to detect and mitigate further incursions" from the device.

The dangers posed by drones include the possibility of a device smashing into a passenger plane or being sucked up into an engine where its highly flammable lithium battery could cause a catastrophe.

Passengers were advised to check the status of their flights before travelling to the airport.

Friday morning a Gatwick spokesman said 91 of the day's 412 scheduled arrivals had been cancelled, while 64 of 371 scheduled departures had also been scrapped. The army was called in on Thursday to offer support, with the defence ministry deploying what was described only as specialist equipment.

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