Gatwick Airport, UK – In a bewildering turn of events this afternoon, Gatwick Airport experienced a 50-minute closure, leading to the diversion and delay of 12 flights both on the ground and in the air. The cause? A potential drone sighting that sent authorities into a frenzy. However, an intriguing twist in the tale has emerged, as plane spotters filming nearby captured footage of what appeared to be silver balloons being released in close proximity to the airport just an hour before the drone alert.
The unusual incident unfolded when a plane spotter channel London Planespotting on YouTube, dedicated to capturing aircraft movements around London, was streaming live from a vantage point near Gatwick Airport. Approximately an hour before the drone alert, the streamer noticed a series of silver balloons being accidentally released in the vicinity. Astonished by the coincidence, they managed to capture the balloons on camera and speculated whether the two incidents were connected.
“We were streaming today when we caught sight of what seemed to be a number of silver balloons released very close to the airport,” the plane spotter remarked. “It appeared to be a mistake, but less than an hour after that, Gatwick was closed as authorities launched a hunt for a drone. Could there be a connection?”
Also, it has been reported by plane spotters nearby that they heard the Gatwick Tower talking to planes which said to Air traffic control after two go arounds “That the offending Objets were silver colored birthday balloons and not a drone that had been close to the final approach path”
Gatwick Airport, one of the busiest aviation hubs in the United Kingdom, has experienced drone-related disruptions in the past. In 2018, the airport endured a severe three-day closure after multiple drone sightings, resulting in the cancellation of thousands of flights and chaos for passengers. This recent incident only serves as a reminder of the vulnerability airports face when it comes to drone-related disruptions.
As the investigation progresses, the question of whether these silver balloons played an unintended role in the Gatwick Airport closure looms, leaving aviation enthusiasts, authorities, and the general public eagerly awaiting answers.