Passenger jet involved in near-miss with large drone near Heathrow Airport

An aircraft approaching Heathrow Airport in London on Feb 23, 2017.
An aircraft approaching Heathrow Airport in London on Feb 23, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - A passenger plane had a near-miss with a drone at 10,000ft as it approached Heathrow Airport, reported BBC on Friday (March 31).

The two pilots spotted the gadget, which had multiple arms and up to eight rotors, pass by the right-hand side of the plane as it was preparing to land, according to a report by the UK Airprox Board (UKAB).

Both pilots exclaimed: "Was that a drone? At 10,000 feet!"

They said they had "no time to react" as they watched the drone for around five seconds, reported Sky News.

The drone was estimated to be about 30m away from the plane and "safety was not assured", UKAB added.

Large drones are not permitted to fly above 400ft (121m) or within proximity of airports or airfields.

The risk posed was classified as "b", the second most serious out of five in which the safety of the aircraft may have been compromised.

Police officers were alerted at the time but they did not find the operator of the drone.

The incident, which happened on Nov 11, 2016, was revealed in the latest report from the UKAB, which said there were four near-misses in the last month.

It brings the total over the last 12 months to 59.

In one incident last July, a drone "narrowly avoided" crashing into a passenger plane as it flew near The Shard.