The Gatwick Airport drone incident from 19-21 December 2018 involved "67 reports of drone sightings close to the runway" (Wikipedia).

However, police stated there were no photos or videos of the drone (The Guardian, 23 Dec.). Later, police said that statement had been the result of "poor communication" (The Guardian, 24 Dec.).

Regardless, I haven't found any photos or videos of the drones. Are there any? If not, why not? Were they too small (or far away) to be seen by a cellphone camera? But then how could humans see them? How can 67 people see a drone in this day and age and none of them record it? Is it plausible that there actually were no drones?


closed as off-topic by ymb1, fooot, Jamiec Feb 28 at 17:24

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It is very likely that there were no drones, and this was a case of mass hysteria.

One actual crashed drone was discovered during the search, but that could very likely have been a hobbyist drone that got away, days, perhaps weeks earlier. Lost toy drones happen all the time (even though it shouldn't happen near a major airport, it does...)



Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.


The Wikipedia page on the event says:

No videos or photographs of the drone were handed to the police.

The New York Times also says there is no solid evidence.

Despite multiple eye witness accounts, no photos or videos of a drone exist.

  • $\begingroup$ Police think otherwise, perhaps this newer article from Feb 2019 can help: nytimes.com/reuters/2019/02/21/technology/… $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Feb 28 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ The question is: Are there any photos or videos of the drones at Gatwick?. The answer is clearly, "No, there are not" (regardless of what the cops might believe). $\endgroup$ – abelenky Feb 28 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ Note that the article says, "The operator also knew to fly the drone past air traffic control, where a ban on mobile phones would keep people from filming it." So if the ATC saw it, plus the other eyewitnesses, it is evidence, even if not concrete (subjective). $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Feb 28 at 15:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ OOI why did you post another answer rather than just update your previous one? $\endgroup$ – Jamiec Feb 28 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ Here's an archived copy of the 2019-02-21 Reuters article. The ban on mobile phones at ATC is interesting as it explains one reason why there are no photos or videos. $\endgroup$ – krubo Apr 12 at 22:48

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