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Military Deployed to Reopen Drone-Plagued Airport

UK transportation secretary calls disruption 'a new kind of attack'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2018 4:40 AM CST
Passengers wait to check in at Gatwick Airport in England, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – After 36 hours of chaos caused by a rogue drone—or drones—flights resumed from London's Gatwick Airport early Friday, but the drone operator is still at large. Authorities at Gatwick say the runway was reopened and arrivals and departures resumed after the police and military introduced "additional mitigating measures," the Guardian reports. The airport was closed Wednesday evening after repeated drone sightings. Authorities say that even with a limited number of flights resuming, around 100 flights will have to be canceled Friday. More than 120,000 people had been scheduled to depart Gatwick between Wednesday evening and the Friday morning reopening. The last drone sighting near the runway was late Thursday, when the military was deployed to the airport.

Police, who earlier said shooting down the drone was not an option because of the risk of stray bullets, said Thursday that the measure had become a "tactical option," the BBC reports. The force will "do what we can to take that drone out of the sky," Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley of Sussex Police told reporters late Thursday. He said no arrests had been made, though police had been investigating "particular groups" and a "number of persons of interest." Chris Grayling, Britain's transport secretary, said Thursday the airport disruption was "a new kind of attack," which involved an unknown number of drones. He said the government is planning new restrictions on drones, including a possible age limit for operators.

(Read more Gatwick stories.)

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