Transportation Safety Board investigating after Porter flight may have dodged drone near Toronto

A Porter airlines flight crew had to take evasive action to avoid a flying object, which may have been a drone, as the plane approached Toronto's downtown airport on Monday morning.

2 flight attendants injured after pilots forced to take evasive action over Lake Ontario

A plane flying.
A Porter airlines flight heading for Toronto nearly collided with a flying object that may have been a drone on Monday morning, the Transportation Safety Board says. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)

A Porter airlines flight crew had to take evasive action to avoid a flying object, which may have been a drone, as the plane approached Toronto's downtown airport on Monday morning.

None of the 54 passengers on board were injured during the incident, now being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB).

The TSB said the "risk of mid-air collision" happened before 7:30 a.m. ET and involved flight POE204 travelling from Ottawa to Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport.

Porter said the event happened over Lake Ontario near Pickering, Ont. — about 55 kilometres east of Toronto — as the de Havilland Dash 8-400 plane was flying at a height of about 9,000 feet. The statement said pilots noticed an object in the distance, which they originally thought was a balloon.

Two flight attendants suffered minor injuries during the incident, but no passengers were hurt. (David Donnelly/CBC)

"As they approached the object, they realized it was very close to their flight path and decided to take appropriate evasive action," Porter said in a statement released Monday afternoon. 

Flight radar shows the plane made a sharp zig-zag before continuing on to Toronto.

"There was no contact between the aircraft and object."

"After debriefing, there is potential that the object was a drone," the statement says.

Porter says two flight attendants who were clearing the plane's cabin for landing sustained minor injuries. They were taken to hospital and released.

The airline says it's working with the TSB on its investigation.

Flight data from FlightRadar24 shows the Porter flight zig-zag on its approach to Toronto. (CBC)

Drones can be dangerous, Ottawa warns

Kate Young, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport, said the government is aware of the incident, which she called serious.

"It's imperative that we keep our skies safe and secure," Young told reporters on Parliament Hill.

"Drones can be dangerous if they get too close to aircraft."

Young said the government is working as quickly as it can to pass new legislation governing how drones can be used, especially as more Canadians begin flying them. Some potential changes, according to Transport Canada documents obtained by CBC News, include requiring drone owners to register their devices, pass a knowledge test and pay for liability insurance.