On Thursday, a drone crashed into a commercial airplane in Canada, as it approached Jean Lesage International Airport in Québec City. Luckily, the aircraft only sustained minor damage and no one was hurt. “It was the first time it’s happened in Canada,” says the Canadian Minister of Transport.
“I am extremely relieved that the aircraft, a Skyjet plane, only sustained minor damage and was able to land safely,” said Marc Garneau in a statement issued on Sunday. He said that “it could have been much more serious” and that if the drone had collided with the cockpit or the engine, the incident could have been “catastrophic.”
“This should not have happened, that drone should not have been there, and it’s important to point out that aircraft are particularly vulnerable when they’re on final approach,” he said.
Garneau says the drone had been flying 3 miles from the airport at 450 meters (around 1,500 feet). This is 150 meters above the legal limit. According to interim rules, it is illegal to fly a recreational drone within 5.5 kilometers from an airport and 1.8 kilometers from a heliport without special permission.
There were six passengers and two crew members on board the airplane at the time of the collision, according to local news media reports.