CBS Local — Canadian officials say that a drone struck a passenger plane while it was on its final approach into Quebec City. The Oct. 12 incident is the first reported collision between a plane and a recreational drone in the country’s history.
Canada’s transportation minister Marc Garneau said on Oct. 15 that the Skyjet flight, carrying six passengers and two crew members, was struck on its way to Jean Lesage International Airport. No one was injured by the drone but one of the plane’s wings was damaged in the crash. “I would like to remind drone operators that endangering the safety of an aircraft is extremely dangerous and a serious offense,” Garneau said in a statement.
Other officials are sounding the alarm of how dangerous the situation concerning drones really is. Greg McConnell, chairperson of the Canadian Federal Pilots’ Association, said the accident was going to happen at some point because it’s taken too long to create strong laws for drone users. “These things have been around since the 1990’s… Let’s get a move on,” McConnell told the Toronto Star. “There are a lot of drones flying, and there are a lot of people flying drones thinking they’re toys.”
Earlier in 2017, Canadian lawmakers reportedly announced that they were making it illegal to fly recreational drones near airports. The new law bans drones from being within 3.5 miles of any airport. Violators could face jail time or a fine of up to $20,000.
Although the FAA says there haven’t been any confirmed collisions between planes and drones, some U.S. pilots have claimed the dangerous toys have hit their planes. The FAA did admit that the number of near misses by drones has risen steadily since 2014.
A U.S. Army helicopter was struck by a drone in September near Staten Island, New York. The crew was able to land and escape safely in that accident as well.