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Drones paralyse Gatwick airport, grounding Christmas travellers

Updated : December 21, 2018 10:13 AM IST

Britain sent troops to its second-biggest airport after an unprecedented attempt to cripple Christmas travel with large drones forced all flights to be cancelled on Thursday. As thousands of passengers waited at Gatwick Airport, south of London, police hunted unsuccessfully for the operators of the large drones which reappeared near the airfield every time the airport tried to reopen the runway. Police said there was no indication of a terrorism motive behind the devices, which first appeared on Wednesday night. "The assessment earlier on today was that we wouldn't be using firearms," Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said late on Thursday. "This is continually reviewed so you will know and have seen that we have firearm officers deployed." Europe's air traffic control agency Eurocontrol said the airport would remain closed until 0600 GMT on Friday.

Stranded passengers are seen sleeping at Gatwick Airport, Britain, December 20, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
Stranded passengers are seen sleeping at Gatwick Airport, Britain, December 20, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
Stranded passengers wait at Gatwick Airport, Britain, December 20, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
Stranded passengers wait at Gatwick Airport, Britain, December 20, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
Airport vehicles stand on the closed runway at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Airport vehicles stand on the closed runway at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Stranded passengers look at the departures board at Gatwick Airport, Britain, December 20, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
Stranded passengers look at the departures board at Gatwick Airport, Britain, December 20, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
A police vehicle stands on the closed runway at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
A police vehicle stands on the closed runway at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the clossure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the clossure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Passengers wait around in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport after drones flying illegally over the airfield forced the closure of the airport, in Gatwick, Britain, December 20, 2018. (REUTERS)
Published : December 21, 2018 10:00 AM IST
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