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An Aeromexico Boeing 737-800 aircraft sustained significant damage after a mid-air collision shortly before landing in Tijuana on Wednesday. Airline officials are investigating whether the plane crashed into a drone while making its approach into the Mexican airport.
As the cockpit crew was descending the aircraft, which was operating Aeromexico flight 773 from Guadalajara, they heard a “pretty loud bang,” according to Bloomberg. Pictures of the plane from local media show the 737’s nose completely crushed.
— Milenio.com (@Milenio) December 13, 2018
The pilots asked the Tijuana control tower if it could see any damage to the plane’s nose.
“The aircraft landed normally and the passengers’ safety was never compromised,” the airline told Bloomberg.
Aeromexico says the exact cause of the damage is still under investigation.
Last year, the FAA released a report saying that drone strikes can cause more damage to aircraft than bird strikes. As recently as October, a Virgin Atlantic 787 had an extremely close call with a drone while descending into London’s Heathrow Airport.
According to FAA data through June 2018, pilots have spotted about 6,000 drones while flying. But, the NTSB has so far only investigated one mid-air collision with a drone in September 2017, which involved a hobbyist’s drone and an Army helicopter, according to Bloomberg. That number is sure to increase in coming years or even months, especially because the FAA recently made it easier to fly drones near US airports.
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