NEWARK, N.J., Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The Federal Aviation Administration announced that four different flight crews spotted a drone while approaching the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
The sightings happened at about noon Sunday by crews from ExpressJet, Northwest Airlink and two United Airlines flights. The planes were between eight to 13 miles away from the airport at an altitude between 2,000 and 3,000 feet.
The planes landed safely and did not need to take evasive maneuvers. Flying drones near an airplane can bring fines of $25,000 and potential criminal charges.
"It's terribly frightening that an artificial object like that could get in the way of a major U.S. or international airliner and cause grave danger to lives on board," Jorge Lauro, a flight passenger, told WNBC in New York after arriving from Portugal.
People who wish to fly drones within five miles from an airport require official clearance from the FAA. Hobbyists are restricted to flying less than 400 feet in altitude and commercial drone pilots to 500 feet.