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BA passenger jet in near miss with drone over Kent

A passenger jet had a near miss with a drone in the skies over Kent, a report has revealed.

The British Airways Airbus A321, which is capable of carrying in the region of 200 people, was flying at 9,600ft south of Sevenoaks – understood to have been en route to London Heathrow from Greece – when pilots spotted the drone.

British Airways plane. Picture: Stuart Bailey
British Airways plane. Picture: Stuart Bailey

According to information published by the UK Airprox Board, which investigates cases involving risk of airborne collision, the incident just before 4.30pm on January 3 saw the rogue craft pass within just five feet of the airliner.

One of the pilots at the controls of the A321 is reported to have described how the drone “shot down our right hand side” and described it as being “extremely close” to the aircraft.

The report states that the crew of the jet became “aware of an object slightly to the right of the nose at the same level on a constant bearing with closing distance”.

It continues: “It was small but had the distinctive shape of a drone. The object passed down the right-hand side of the aircraft and over their right wing.

“Details were passed immediately to London ATC (air traffic control) who informed the pilot of the aircraft behind them.”

The near-miss has been categorised as a Category A incident, where there was high risk of a mid-air collision.

The report into the incident concludes: “The Board considered that the pilot’s overall account of the incident portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision had existed.”

A British Airways spokesman said: “We take such matters extremely seriously and our pilots report incidents so that the authorities can investigate and take appropriate action.”

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