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

EasyJet flight had a near miss from a drone
EasyJet flight had a near miss from a drone. Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

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.

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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.