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It wasn't a drone that hit that plane landing at Heathrow

The 'drone' that collided with a plane landing at Heathrow probably wasn't a drone, government officials have said. The item the plane hit may have even been a plastic bag.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin told fellow MPs that it was not "a drone incident". Investigators at the Air Accidents Investigation Branch have also ended their enquiries after finding "insufficient" evidence for them to work out what had happened.

A British Airways Airbus A320 was in the process of landing at Heathrow Airport on April 17, when it reported it had been hit by a drone.

Although a BA spokesperson said that nobody was harmed in the collision and the aircraft was "cleared to operate its next flight," police were called to the scene to investigate the incident.

At the time it was believed to be the first time that an aircraft in the UK had collided with a drone. Initially police had asked for help in identifying a person, or a drone, that may have been involved in the suspected collision.

Last week transport minister Robert Goodwill told a committee of MPs that the "early reports of a dent" in the front of the plane had not been confirmed.

He also said there was no damage to the plane and that there was "some speculation that it may have even been a plastic bag or something".  

The UK has clear laws around flying drones near airports, and the Civil Aviation Authority's dronecode tells pilots that their drones should always be kept in sight, not flown higher than 122m and kept away from aircraft and airfields.

If a drone had hit a plane it would have been in clear breach of the Air Navigation Order 2009, which sets out the laws around drone use.

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