Drone and plane have near-miss above Ben Gurion Airport

UAV comes dangerously close to Brussels Airlines passenger jet at altitude of 4,000 meters; authorities to investigate

File: Planes sit on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International airport, near Tel Aviv, on August 21, 2014. (AFP/Jack Guez)
File: Planes sit on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International airport, near Tel Aviv, on August 21, 2014. (AFP/Jack Guez)

A disaster at Ben Gurion International Airport was narrowly averted this week when a drone came dangerously close to an incoming plane, forcing the aircraft to adjust its course.

The incident took place on Monday at 3:30 p.m., when a Brussels Airlines flight readied for landing, according to the Ynet website. After beginning its descent, the flight crew spotted a blue UAV and quickly shifted course to avoid a collision.

According to eyewitnesses, the drone was only 100 meters away. The UAV was 4,000 meters high, according to the report. The Belgian plane, an Airbus A320, had 160 passengers on board the flight.

Upon landing, the pilots filed a complaint, and airport authorities and police said they would investigate.

Transportation Ministry official Yitzhak Raz condemned the “serious incident” and the “worrisome trend” of unregulated drones.

“This trend was discussed in the past two years in a large number of international conferences, due to the understanding that this is a factor that compromises security and under certain circumstances could even bring down a passenger plane, particularly when it’s [flown] near an airport,” Raz said.

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