A passenger plane came within 10 feet of crashing into a drone in a 'near miss' at 16,000 feet

  • An Easyjet flight had a "near miss" with an "unidentified flying object," according to a new report.

  • The pilot said the plane missed the unmanned flying object by around 10 feet.

  • A report by the UK Airprox Board said the object was likely a drone.

An Easyjet flight had a "near miss" with an "unidentified flying object" flying at around 16,000 feet in the London air traffic control area in July, according to a report by the UK Airprox Board.

The pilot of the Airbus A320 — which was flying from London Gatwick to Rhodes in Greece — described the object as black and cylindrical and said it passed within 10 feet of the aircraft, per the report released last week.

The board rated the incident as Category A, meaning there was a risk of a collision, and said that the object was likely to be a drone.

It said: "In the board's opinion the reported altitude and/or description of the object were sufficient to indicate that it could have been a drone."

A National Air Traffic Services investigation report said the pilot first reported the incident over the radio during the flight.

"Going through FL160 we very nearly just hit a drone. We're talking less than ten feet," the pilot said. "We don't think we've hit it, there was a bit of a thud, we'll come back to you."

After landing the flight the pilot confirmed the plane had not made contact with the drone and the thud likely came from the cabin, per the report.

Drones are limited to an altitude of just 400 feet above the ground in the UK, per the UK Civil Aviation Authority, meaning the unmanned aerial vehicle would have been flying around forty times higher than the legal limit if it was a drone.

A spokesperson for Easyjet told Insider: "We are aware of the report and will always fully support any investigation."

"Safety is always easyJet's highest priority and our flight crew acted in accordance with our standard operating procedures to ensure the safety of the flight was not compromised."

A collision between a drone and an aircraft can cause severe damage to the plane.

In 2018, Gatwick Airport in London was forced to close for more than 24 hours after drones were flown over the runway.

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