You might see something other than a jet plane if you look skyward near “EWR.”
Drone activity was spotted around 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Newark International Airport — one of the biggest airports around New York City area. Two drones were spotted on the airfield in Teterboro Airport, located less than 20 miles in Bergen County, NJ. Several planes were held from landing, circling out in the air until it was safe to land.
As CBS first noted drones over 3,500 feet after “an object” was captured by one of the pilots of Southwest flight 476.
“Be advised there’s something on final here we don’t, we thought maybe it was a drone, uh, but there’s, uh, definitely, uh, something on final here.”
Air Traffic Controller: “And you say something on final, I’m not sure what you mean. Like an object or something?”
Southwest 476: “Yes sir, an object and it definitely looks like a drone. It was pretty close. I’d say within, uh, I would say, a quarter mile at most off our right.”
One of the passengers on an international flight from Nassau Brett Sosnick tweeted “Just landed at Newark. Our @united flight had to circle because of stopped takeoffs and landings due to nearby drone activity. Time to come up with technology to remotely shut down these drones #EWR.”
The Federal Aviation Administration forbids unmanned-aerial vehicles within five miles of the airport due to potential damage that could harm an airplane and its passengers in case of a collision.
By 5:45 the airports partially reopened. As the FAA informed in an early release: “The drones are no longer in the airspace and flights have resumed at Newark Airport, but there is a ground stop for planes headed to Newark from other airports until they can clear the backlog of flights.”
After 7 p.m. Newark International Airport (NIA) resumed its work fully as Port Authority officials said. Delays crept up to about 90 minutes.
The FAA reports that it has received hundreds of drone sighting reports over the past few months and there is no system to detect who is behind illegal drone activities — including the one on Tuesday.
The “pilot” behind the drone in question could face criminal penalties and fines of $15, 000.
Less than a month ago drone activity was spotted in London’s Heathrow airport, disrupting airport traffic for an hour.
Heathrow began testing anti-drone technology after an aerial vehicle was spotted at Gatwick Airport in a separate incident, halting all flights for more than six hours. Two people were found guilty of those incidents, British authorities report.