UK defense secretary: army to help neutralize drones seen at London airport

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  • Thu, 12/20/2018 - 17:34
UK defense secretary: army to help neutralize drones seen at London airport
  • EFE

The United Kingdom's secretary of State for defense on Thursday said the British army would assist operations aiming to neutralize remotely-piloted aircraft spotted at London Gatwick, the country's second-busiest international airport.

Gavin Williamson told media that the armed forces would be deployed to help police tackle the industrial-sized drones that have wreaked chaos for travelers and forced the airport's closure after law enforcement officials requested their intervention. 

"We will be deploying the armed forces to give (police) the help that they need to be able to deal with the situation of the drones at Gatwick airport,” Williamson said in an interview with Sky News television channel.

The defense secretary refused to provide any specific details on the operation, though he said the army had a range of unique capabilities and would do everything it could so that the airport could re-open at the earliest opportunity.

Flights were canceled on Wednesday night after two drones were seen flying near the runway. 

On Thursday morning, another drone was sighted, according to Gatwick's chief operating officer, Chris Woodroofe.

Some 110,000 passengers were expected to embark on 765 flights programmed for Thursday.

Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her sympathy for those affected by the cancellations.

"I feel for all those passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted by this drone activity and the action that has had to be taken in response to it," May said during a press conference. "At this particular time of year, this is particularly difficult for people."

Gatwick, located some 43 kilometers (27 miles) to the south of London, is one of Europe's main transport hubs, serving more than 32 million passengers a year. 


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