Gatwick drone attack ‘may have been work of disgruntled employee’

Police have collected 130 witness statements, made 1,100 door-to-door inquiries – report

Gatwick, Britain’s second-busiest airport, was forced to close its runway before Christmas when drones flew near the site south of London. File photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Gatwick, Britain’s second-busiest airport, was forced to close its runway before Christmas when drones flew near the site south of London. File photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP

 

A drone attack that crippled London’s Gatwick Airport for three days may have been carried out by a disgruntled current or former airport employee, British police believe, according to the Times.

Gatwick, Britain’s second-busiest airport, was forced to close its runway before Christmas when drones flew near the site south of London.

Officers have collected 130 witness statements and made 1,100 door-to-door inquiries, pulling in other police forces to help, the report said.

The witness statements suggested the drone was operated by someone who knew the airport layout well. The attacker hid the drone behind buildings where it could not be taken down by anti-drone equipment.

The operator also knew to fly the drone past air traffic control, where a ban on mobile phones would keep people from filming it.

“[The drone pilot] knew the blind spots for it, where it could not be ‘hit’,” a government official told the newspaper. “It was clearly someone with really good knowledge of Gatwick, someone who had worked there. Hypothetically, it could have been a disgruntled employee.”

Police did not respond to a request for comment.–Reuters