Posted on January 9, 2019
Scotland Yard said a “full criminal investigation” had been launched into the incident – and that officers were among those to see the drone. Departures from the west London airport were suspended for about an hour. It comes after thousands of passengers were caught up in disruption at Gatwick Airport last month following reports of drone sightings.
Heathrow airport, which is also working with the Met Police, said it was monitoring the situation and apologised to passengers affected by the disruption. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We are deploying specialist equipment to Heathrow Airport at the request of the Metropolitan Police.”
The Met’s Commander Stuart Cundy confirmed military assistance had been brought in but would not discuss tactics in detail. He said the drone sighting was reported just after 17:00 GMT, with departing flights stopped as a precaution while initial inquiries were made.
“We are carrying out extensive searches around the Heathrow area to identify any people who may be responsible for the operation of the drone,” he said. “The illegal operation of drones at an airfield is extremely dangerous. It is an offence to endanger the safety of an aircraft; anyone found guilty of this offence could face a life sentence. We are deploying significant resources – both in terms of officers and equipment – to monitor the airspace around Heathrow and to quickly detect and disrupt any illegal drone activity; some of which are as a result of learning from the incidents at Gatwick.”