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Appeal following incident with aircraft

News   •   Apr 18, 2016 16:08 BST

Police are appealing for information after a plane on its descent into Heathrow Airport was struck by an object believed to be a drone.

On Sunday 17 April, a pilot on an inbound BA flight into Heathrow Airport from Geneva reported to police that an object believed to have been a drone had struck the front of the aircraft. It was flying at approximately 1,700 ft at the time of the incident shortly before the aircraft landed at 12:38hrs.

The flight landed at Heathrow Terminal 5 safely and was inspected by BA engineers. There was no damage found to the aircraft.

Officers believe that the incident occurred over the Richmond area, in proximity of Richmond Park, South West London. Local officers searched a wide area for suspects and/or debris but nothing has so far been found.

Aviation Policing are working with partners from British Airways (BA), Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to investigate this incident, which is being treated as an endangerment of an aircraft under Article 137 Air Navigation Order 2009.

Aviation Policing would ask for anyone who was in the area of Richmond Park or any surrounding open spaces on that day between 12:00hrs and 1300hrs who may have information to contact police or Crimestoppers.

We would also ask anyone to contact police if they find identifiable parts of drone in the Richmond area.

Anyone who can assist the investigation is asked to contact Aviation Policing on 020 3276 1460; or alternatively Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

Chief Superintendent Martin Hendy, head of Metropolitan Police Service's Aviation Policing Command, said:

"Thankfully the aircraft landed safely but the incident highlights the very real dangers of reckless, negligent and some times malicious use of drones. We continue to work with the Civil Aviation Authority and other partners to tackle this issue and ensure that enthusiasts who fly drones understand the dangers and the law.

"One of the challenges is to ensure people realise what is legitimate and what is illegal. The message is do not fly them anywhere near airports or flight paths, or over crowded places such as football and other stadiums. The potential is there for a major incident."