Officials: Private drone collided with Canadian commercial jet

By Ray Downs  |  Oct. 15, 2017 at 5:59 PM
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Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Canadian officials say a private drone collided with a commercial passenger jet last week, marking the first time that's happened in the nation's history.

In a statement Sunday, Canada's Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the drone struck a Skyjet flight bound for Québec City on Thursday.

The jet suffered some damage, but there were no injuries.

"I am extremely relieved that the aircraft only sustained minor damage and was able to land safely," Garneau said.

"This should not have happened."

Officials said the drone was flying about 1,500 feet off the ground, which is roughly 500 feet above Canada's legal limit for drones -- and within just a few miles of an airport, which is also illegal.

The transport minister said Quebec police are deciding whether to investigate the case.

"I would like to remind drone operators that endangering the safety of an aircraft is extremely dangerous and a serious offense," Garneau said. "Anyone who violates the regulations could be subject to fines of up to $25,000 and/or prison."

So far this year, there have been nearly 1,600 drone incidents reported to Transport Canada, including 131 due to aviation safety concerns.

Around the world, there is growing concern about potential collisions between drones and larger aircraft, including passenger jets.

In Britain last year, an investigation was ordered after a British Airways pilot reported a drone nearly collided with his plane as it landed at London's Heathrow Airport.

In the United States last year, the Federal Aviation Administration said near-misses between drones and passenger jets are on the rise.

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