The Canadian government announced on Sunday that a drone hit a commercial passenger plane marking the first time in Canada that such an accident has occurred.
A plane that charter airline Skyjet was operating was approaching the Jean Lesage Airport in Quebec City Thursday when it was struck by a drone on one of its wings, said media reports.
The plane was carrying six passengers with two crew members. Marc Garneau the Transport Minister of Canada said he was extremely relieved the plane sustained only minor damage and following the incident made a successful landing.
Skyjet, which is Quebec based, operates several small twin-engine planes, according to information on its website. The charter company was not available for comment.
Drone usage has rapidly grown across the globe by consumers and has led to an increase in encounters between planes and the devices, which are remote-controlled
Authorities in transportation have attempted to set up regulations to avoid these types of disasters.
Earlier in 2017, Canada announced its new safety measures that makes it illegal to fly a recreational drone within an area of 3.5 miles from airports, and restricts the height in which a drone can flight to just 300 feet.
The punishment for not following the regulations includes fines of up to C$25,000 equal to $20,000 and a possible prison sentence.
The incident involving the drone late last week that hit the plane was following the restriction of 3.5 miles, but was at an altitude much higher than is allowed within the regulations, as it hovered at close to 1,500 feet off the ground.
If a drone hit the cockpit window and incapacitated a pilot or damaged the engine in anyway, it could result in a catastrophe said the Canadian Transport Minister during a press conference.
In China, a drone came very close to a passenger jet earlier in 2017, prompting Chinese authorities to detain the pilot of the drone.
A pilot in the UK with British Airways said during the approach of the plane he was flying that a drone struck the aircraft in 2016. However, following an investigation, the government of Britain concluded that what took place likely did not involve a drone.
Last year, Dubai’s international airport announced trial flights of a drone hunter, which is a remote-controlled aircraft that detects drones that can possibly stray into the airspace of a plane.