An easyJet plane with 134 passengers onboard “narrowly missed” being hit by a drone flying at 8,000ft over Greater Manchester.
An air safety report published by The UK Airprox Board – which monitors drone incidents – said the drone device passed “very close” to the cockpit window as it flew over Ashton-Under-Lyne in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside.
The incident was confirmed to have occurred on 4th September 2020.
The UK Airprox Board rated the incident in its highest risk category, and the report added that a “definite risk of collision existed” and “providence played a major part in the incident”.
The Airbus A320 was confirmed to be flying from Manchester Airport to Athens.
The pilot described the drone as being 0.5m (1.6ft) long, with an estimated 10kg weight.
The jet – which was said to be carrying a total of 134 passengers – was flying at about 8,000ft above Greater Manchester, which is confirmed to be 20 times higher than the legal limit to fly a drone.
This limit is set due to the risk of a collision with a piloted aircraft.
Speaking on the incident, an easyJet spokesperson said: “We are aware of the report and fully supported the investigation by providing all requested information.
“easyJet recognises the growing popularity of drones and therefore welcomes efforts by EASA, the CAA and other regulators across Europe… to take this issue seriously and ensure that the correct measures and regulations are put in place to ensure the safety of aviation is not compromised.”