Two people previously arrested over drone sightings at Gatwick Airport have been released without charges. This is according to a statement released by Sussex Police. The statement, which was published on the Sussex Police website, “I am satisfied that they’re no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick.”
The people arrested were 47 year old male and a 54 year old female. They were arrested for flying drones over the airport between the 19th and 21st of December 2018. They were reportedly arrested on Friday and released two days later without any charges. The police statement stated that the pair were cooperative and had been cleared of any involvement.
The hunt for the real drone operators who flew over the Gatwick Airport is still ongoing. The drones which first appeared over the runway at Gatwick on December 19th led to a shutdown of the airport. This resulted in over 760 flights getting delayed or canceled on what is normally one of the busiest times of the year. More than 110,000 passengers had their flights canceled due to the drone sightings.
Many of the incoming flights to Gatwick had to be diverted to other UK airports, including Glasgow and Manchester. Some flights were even diverted to nearby European airports in Amsterdam and Paris. The reason for the shutdown was to prevent possible collisions between the drones and planes. The initial shutdown was for 26 hours. When the airport reopened on December 21st, the two drones reappeared, causing another shutdown.
Sussex Police claim to have put a plan in place in case drones happen to reappear over the airport. Other security agencies are also assisting the police in not just hunting for the perpetrators, but developing strategies to handle future drone threats. The motives of the drone operators are still unclear. Although the authorities have ruled out terrorism. A potential theory is that the operators could be environmental activists. Gatwick Airport has offered a reward of £50,000 to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of the drone operators.