Gatwick Airport: Drone sightings cause delays
Gatwick Airport: Drone sightings cause delays
UPDATE 24th December – And the plot thickens…… there may never have been any drones at Gatwick and the whole incident could have been down to “poor communications”, according to police.
Ministers were briefed on the latest situation at the airport in a conference call on Christmas Eve amid growing criticism of the handling of the investigation by Sussex Police.
On Sunday, a man and woman arrested in connection with the inquiry were released without charge following two nights in custody after officers said they were no longer suspects.
A senior detective then said it was a “possibility” that there may never have been any drones in the area, despite scores of sightings which led to the closure of the airport for three days and caused massive disruption for passengers.
However, following the hour-long conference call – chaired by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling – a Government source said police had accepted that the claim was down to “poor communications”.
Sussex Police Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner said on Monday afternoon: “We can unequivocally state that there have been numerous illegal drone sightings at the airport over three days from 19 to 21 December.
“There were numerous reports clustered around 37 occasions where a drone or drones were seen and I am keen for those responsible to be brought to justice.”
Asked about speculation there hadn’t been a drone, Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley had said on Sunday: “Of course, that’s a possibility.
“We are working with human beings saying they have seen something.”
Police say there have been more than 200 sightings since the first drone was spotted in the Gatwick area on Wednesday, with officers taking 67 statements.
Police are also carrying out a forensic investigation of a damaged drone found near the airport perimeter, close to the last reported sighting… Continue reading the story HERE
UPDATE 23rd December – Couple released without charge.
Two people who were held over the drone disruption at Gatwick Airport have been released without charge.
In a statement, Sussex Police said the man and woman arrested were no longer suspects following the widespread disruption of flights through the illegal use of drones, the officer said: “Both people have fully co-operated with our inquiries and I am satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick. The Police were acting on information passed on by the public when they made the arrests.
Gatwick Airport Limited is now offering a £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible, this is in addition to the £10,000 offered by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft through Crimestoppers.
Those with information are being urged to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Police have reminded people willing to come forward that “payout on the reward will be made only if the information is given to Crimestoppers first”.
Read the full story here on news.sky.com
UPDATE 22nd December
Two suspects arrested after cyclist was spotted ‘frantically’ packing away two drones.
Sussex cops detained two of the so called ‘Gatwick grinches’ in raids at around 10pm Friday 21st. The two suspects, a man and woman both from the “Gatwick area”, were held by police on Friday night after yet another day of travel chaos at the Sussex airport which saw dozens of flights once again being cancelled.
Since Wednesday night 1,000 flights were cancelled or diverted, affecting 140,000 passengers.
The runway at Gatwick reopened this morning but passengers are urged to check their flights before travelling as as delays and cancellations are set to enter a fourth day.
The couple have now been named, but the mans boss at Allard Double Glazing in Crowborough, East Sussex believes the police may have the wrong couple…… as he states
‘I don’t think it can be him. He was busy on site working when it was happening.’ He said the gentleman in question had flown drones before in the past as a hobby. ‘He is a reliable family man who has been with me for 17 years and has never given me any problems at all,’ he added. ‘He may have picked up the interest in model flying from me because I’ve been doing it for 40 years.’ He also said the wife had no interest in drones as far as he knew.
Sussex Police Superintendent said ‘Our investigations are still ongoing and our activities at the airport continue to build resilience to detect and mitigate further incursions from drones, by deploying a range of tactics.
‘The arrests we have made are a result of our determination to keep the public safe from harm, every line of inquiry will remain open to us until we are confident that we have mitigated further threats to the safety of passengers.
‘Anyone with information about the incident or who may have suspicions about the drone operators is asked to report online or call 101 quoting Operation Trebor. If you see anyone acting suspiciously in the area of the airport, please dial 999 immediately.
19th December 2018
Story courtesy of BBC News
Tens of thousands of passengers at one of the UK’s busiest airports are experiencing flight disruption after drones were seen over the airfield.
Gatwick’s runway remains closed after two of the devices were seen nearby.
Flights are unable to take off or land and Gatwick said 110,000 passengers on 760 flights were due to use the airport on Thursday.
Police were still hunting for the drone operator after another device was reported just before 07:00 GMT.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “There is absolutely nothing to suggest that this is terrorism-related.”
Gatwick chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe said police had not wanted to shoot the devices down because of the risk from stray bullets.
Those due to travel have been told to check the status of their flight, while Easyjet told its passengers not to go to Gatwick if their flights have been cancelled.
European air traffic management group Eurocontrol said the runway would remain closed until 11:00. ( UK Time)
Passengers have told to check their flights with their Airline. Easyjet have advised not to go the Airport if your flight has been cancelled. You can check status of flights HERE
The shutdown started just after 21:00 on Wednesday when two drones were spotted being flown over the airfield.
The runway was briefly reopened at about 03:01, the airport said, but forced to close again about 45 minutes later amid “a further sighting of drones”.
About 10,000 passengers were affected overnight on Wednesday, with some flights landing in Paris and Amsterdam.
Mr Woodroofe told the BBC two drones had been seen flying “over the perimeter fence and into where the runway operates from”, sparking “very significant disruption”.
He added: “The police are looking for the operator and that is the way to disable the drone.”
It is illegal to fly a drone within 1km of an airport or airfield boundary.
Planes were diverted to other airports including London Heathrow, Luton and Manchester.
Aviation website airlive.net said some services were re-routed as far away as Cardiff, Paris and Amsterdam.
Crowds of passengers waited inside Gatwick’s terminal for updates, while others reported being stuck on waiting planes for several hours.
Story courtesy of BBC News