A commercial plane in Canada was lucky to escape with only minor damage after colliding with a drone. The plane was travelling to Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport when its wings were struck during the incident, but thankfully damage was minimal and it landed safely.

Transport minister Marc Garneau said in a statement: "Although the vast majority of drone operators fly responsibly, it was our concern for incidents like this that prompted me to take action and issue interim safety measures restricting where recreational drones could be flown I would like to remind drone operators that endangering the safety of an aircraft is extremely dangerous and a serious offence."

drone

Credit: PA

The plane belongs to Skyjet, an airline operating out of the largely French-speaking province of Quebec.

Earlier this year, Canada introduced measures making it illegal to fly recreations drones within 3.5 miles of an airport as well as restricting the height of a drone's flight to 90 metres. Circumventing these restrictions can result in a fine up to C$25,000 (£15,000 / US$20,000) and even a prison sentence. The drone involved in the Skyjet incident was flying within the 3.5-mile restriction but breaking the height rule by 450 metres above ground.

In a news conference, Gareau noted: "If a drone were to hit the window of a cockpit and incapacitate the pilot, or were to damage in anyway an engine, this could have catastrophic results."

drone

Credit: PA

To date, there have been no worldwide reports of fatal collisions between recreational drones and planes, but a number of countries have reported near misses. In March 2017, a drone flew 'within wingspan' of a plane which was approaching London's Heathrow.

Officials have increasingly raised concerns about the prevalence of drones near airports. Owners are not required to register the machines and require no training to use them, which both raises the possibility of accidental collisions and prevents authorities from tracing those responsible for incidents.

drone

Credit: PA

A report by a UK aviation authority in 2017 noted a steep rise in the number of incidents in recent years, with numerous causes noted. These included a number of pilots concerned by the proximity of drones to the planes they were flying as well as direct collisions with A320 planes and a chinook helicopter.

Words: Ronan O'Shea

Featured Image Credit: PA

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