A packed easyJet flight was only a few feet away from a disaster as it narrowly avoided a drone minutes after takeoff.
The terrifying incident took place on September 4 when the pilot of the Airbus A320 flight from Manchester to Athens reported seeing the drone from the cockpit window.
It flew at 8,000 feet when the net avoided the jet – 20 times higher than the legal limit for a drone.
The UK Airprox Board, which is monitoring the drone incidents, said the device passed “very close” to the cockpit window as the plane headed south and rated the incident in the highest risk category.
The report claimed there was “a clear risk of collision” and “providence played a major role in the incident,” describing the drone as 1.6 feet long with an estimated weight of 10 kg.
There were about 134 passengers on board.
An Easyjet spokesperson said: “We are aware of the report and have fully supported the investigation by providing all requested information.
“Easyjet recognizes the growing popularity of drones and therefore welcomes the efforts of EASA, the CAA and other regulators across Europe … to take this matter seriously and ensure that the correct measures and regulations are put in place to ensure that aviation is not safe.
A similar incident occurred two days later when the pilot of a Boeing 737 leaving Birmingham Airport spotted an object that looked like a drone at 2,000 feet.
No avoidance action was necessary.
In another incident, officers aboard a plane landing at Leeds Bradford Airport reported a bright light and an object that appeared to be moving almost head-on toward the plane.
Air traffic control informed them that the police helicopter had previously spotted lanterns in the area, but none of the pilots believed what they saw was a lantern, according to reports.
Airprox said the risk of collision was high and they could not determine the nature of the unknown object.