James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
10ft from disaster: EasyJet plane carrying 180 passengers 'nearly hits drone' above coast of Kent
24 October 2022, 09:14 | Updated: 24 October 2022, 10:35
The pilots feared the worst after hearing a 'thud'
An easyJet plane carrying 180 passengers came within 10ft nearly of a drone over the coast of Kent, a new report has found.
The Airbus A230 was on a flight from Gatwick to Greece when the near miss happened, with the flight's first officer fearing the worst after hearing a 'thud'.
Pilots described seeing a 'black and cylindrical' device hurtling towards them around 20 miles to the west of Dover, the Sun reported. A post-flight investigation found there had been no collision and a subsequent report found the device was likely a drone.
If it was a drone, it would have been 40 times above its permitted height (400ft) as it passed directly under the plane 16,000ft into the air.
Speaking to air traffic controllers in July, the captain said: “We very nearly just hit a drone. We’re talking less than ten feet.
“We don’t think we’ve hit it, there was a bit of a thud, we’ll come back to you.”
The UK Airprox Board investigated near misses and placed the incident under Category A, meaning there was a serious risk of collision.
A spokesperson for easyJet confirmed the cabin crew followed the necessary procedures to keep the flight safe.