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More than 120,000 passengers have been in some way impacted by the recent drone incident at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW). The sightings, which closed the United Kingdom’s second busiest airport for more than 30 hours from late Wednesday evening until Friday morning and again for an hour Friday evening, are believed to have been intentional.
Intentional or not, UK authorities are treating the act as a criminal act. After authorities deployed military surveillance and reconnaissance around LGW, two individuals were located and arrested in connection with the incident. Sussex police, overseeing the jurisdiction in which LGW is located, confirmed the news Friday evening.
Sussex police superintendent James Collis reported that a man and a woman had been arrested in connection with the drone activity, but other than the suspects’ gender, little is known about the two. Collis went on to say that the investigation is still on-going.
In a statement to media on Friday evening following the arrests, Superintendent Collis stated, “… Our activities at the airport continue to build resilience to detect and mitigate further incursions from drones by deploying a range of tactics.”
While the airport has since reopened, the damage has already been done. Hundreds of thousands of passengers were stranded for hours at LGW. The most recent reports show that nearly 800 flights were canceled as a result of the incident. Additionally, dozens of inbound flights that were unable to land at the airport during the closure ended up diverting to nearby airports until the closure was lifted. Delays have lingered into the weekend as the airport works to restore operations to normal capacity.
If the two arrested Friday evening are found guilty, they could face quite a bit of time in prison and a very hefty fine. As TPG’s Jessica Puckett reported, endangering an aircraft carries up to a five-year prison sentence and an unlimited fine.
If your travels involve flights to or from LGW, we suggest arriving for your departing flight early and allowing for ample time to make connecting flights. Heightened security and surveillance could continue to impact operations into the weekend.
H/T: The Guardian
(Featured image by Victoria Jones/PA Images/Contributor/Getty Images)
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