Plane has close call with drone while landing in Winnipeg
Police say ground signal may have originated near University of Manitoba campus
A pilot had to react quickly after a drone got close to a commercial passenger plane attempting to land in Winnipeg Saturday.
Police were called to the Winnipeg James Richardson International Airport at about 2:45 p.m. after being contacted by Nav Canada, which provides air navigation.
A pilot attempting to land a plane saw a drone near the aircraft, police said. While at an altitude of about 900 metres, the drone came within 25 metres of the plane.
The plane was able to land safely.
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Officers searched the areas where they thought the drone may have originated but police said they weren't able to find the air vehicle or its owner.
It's hugely concerning because this isn't just your average hobby drone.- Const. Rob Carver
Winnipeg Police Service Const. Rob Carver said investigators still aren't certain where the drone came from, but they have received a tip that pegged the signal's origin at somewhere near the University of Manitoba.
"Radar plots provided by Nav Canada indicate that ... the controlling person was likely near the University of Manitoba. From a bird's eye view that could be either side of the river," Carver said.
Not your average drone
The drone in question also was not the kind of commercial model on sale in stores, Carver added.
"It's hugely concerning because this isn't just your average hobby drone. It was able to go to 3,000 feet, which is unusual," Carver said.
"Someone directed it to go up 3,000 feet, which means somebody also directed it to be near an aircraft. That is incredibly concerning to not just the pilot, but the people in the aircraft."
Unmanned air vehicles like drones are subject to Transport Canada restrictions regarding altitude, purpose, size and area of use. Commercial drone operators must also have a Special Flight Operations Certificate.
Winnipeg police and Transport Canada are investigating the incident.
"We're not in the business of managing air space over Winnipeg, but certainly someone on the ground was directing this, which is why we come into play," Carver said.
Police are reminding people that significant portions of the city are in a controlled air space.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 204-786-8477.
With files from Nelly Gonzalez