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Heathrow Airport briefly suspends flights after drone sighting

By
Danielle Haynes
Heathrow Airport in London halted all departures for about 2 hours Tuesday after a drone sighting. File Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE
Heathrow Airport in London halted all departures for about 2 hours Tuesday after a drone sighting. File Photo by Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

Jan. 8 (UPI) -- London's Heathrow Airport temporarily suspended departures Tuesday after a drone sighting in the area, airport officials said.

The airport's Twitter account said officials were working with London Metropolitan Police and air traffic control on reports of drones spotted in the vicinity of the airport. Officials halted all departures less than 2 hours before.

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"We will continue to monitor this and apologize to anyone that were affected," the airport's tweet said.

The drone scare comes two weeks after the use of drones in London shut down Gatwick Airport, grounding flights for about 36 hours while the incident was investigated.

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Earlier this week, Britain's Department for Transport announced new powers to allow police to tackle the illegal use of drones.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that while drone technology can provide "immense benefits," it can be a danger to aircraft.

"The Gatwick incident has reinforced the fact that it is crucial that our regulatory and enforcement regime keeps pace with rapid technological change," he said Monday while announcing the new law. "The majority of drone users fly safely and responsibly, but we must ensure that the police have the right powers to deal with illegal use."

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Grayling said his office was in contact with Heathrow Airport on Tuesday.

"I have already spoken to both the home secretary and defense secretary and the military are preparing to deploy the equipment used at Gatwick at Heathrow quickly should it prove necessary," he said.

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