Departures Halted at Heathrow Airport in London After Drone Sighting [Updated]

File photo of Heathrow Airport in London
Photo: Getty Images

Departures at Heathrow airport in London, the busiest airport in Britain, were stopped over reports of a drone flying nearby, in a bizarre case that echoes disturbances at London’s Gatwick airport last month.

“We are responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow and are working closely with the Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety,” Heathrow tweeted at 5:47pm local time, 12:47pm ET.

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“As a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate. We apologize to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause.”

According to the BBC, passengers waiting on the tarmac aren’t being told why they’re not taking off, just that they’re “not going anywhere.”

Gatwick Airport, the second busiest airport in the UK, was shut down for two full days last month because someone thought they saw a drone or drones, something that can pose a threat to airplanes due to the risk of collision. The British military was even called in, despite the fact that no video or still photos were ever captured of the alleged drone.

Two people were eventually arrested over the Gatwick incident but they were released after it was determined that they had nothing to do with the apparent rogue drone. The entire situation is weird, to say the least.

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We’ll update this article as we learn more.

Update, 2:01pm: Departures have resumed, according to the Heathrow Airport Twitter account:

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But much like the Gatwick Airport shut down, there haven’t been any images to surface of the alleged drone.

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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog