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Not A Drone After All? Unclear What Hit That British Airways Plane

It might not have been a drone that struck a British Airways plane on April 17 after all.

British Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told Parliament on Thursday that it was probably "not a drone incident," according to The Register, an online tech publication.

The plane landed safely at London's Heathrow Airport, but reports that it might have been hit by a drone prompted calls for stronger regulation, as The Two-Way reported.

U.K. aviation officials looking into what happened to the Airbus A320 have now ended their inquiry, according to The Guardian. It adds:

"An investigation launched by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has been closed due to lack of evidence. A spokesman for the AAIB said: 'We made initial inquiries but there was insufficient information on what object was involved for us to take it further.' "

"They just don't have any evidence to tell them one way or the other," BBC's transportation correspondent reports.

Maybe it really was a plastic bag — as Transport Minister Robert Goodwill has posited. However, as The Telegraph notes, Goodwill has "dismissed calls for tighter rules on drone use to protect against terror threats insisting current rules governing drone use were strong enough."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.
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