Drone shuts down London's Gatwick Airport

Published: Dec. 20, 2018 at 5:23 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Long lines stretched through the terminals at London's Gatwick Airport as flights were canceled or delayed because of drone sightings.

All passengers could do was wait as police played an irritating game of cat and mouse.

"Each time we believe we get close to the operator the drone disappears. When we look to reopen the airfield the drone reappears so I am absolutely convinced it's a deliberate act to disrupt Gatwick Airport," said Justin Burtenshaw, the policing airport commander.

Nearly 800 flights have been delayed or canceled. Some planes are heading to U.S. airports including Los Angeles and New York.

"It's my daughter's birthday and everything has gone all wrong and we've been looking forward to this - planning it for so long," said Gisele Fenech, who is traveling to Malta.

"It's a little bit stressful but if we get home before Christmas, everything will be fine," said Maddie Sable, who is traveling to Denver.

Authorities won't shoot down the drones because of the danger of stray bullets. Flying a drone near an airport in the UK is illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison.

British Police say they don't suspect terrorism, but extremist groups have threatened to use drones as weapons and that's something aviation and security officials have long feared happening at airports around the world.