A drone struck a plane on one of its wings while on approach to Québec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport on Thursday. The plane was operated by local charter airline Skyjet.
“This is the first time a drone has hit a commercial aircraft in Canada. I am extremely relieved that the aircraft only sustained minor damage and was able to land safely,” Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said in a statement. “If a drone were to hit the window of a cockpit and incapacitate the pilot, or were to damage in anyway an engine, this could have catastrophic results.”
While the drone in question was following the 3.5-mile restriction, it was flying well above the allotted 90-meter (295-foot) ceiling, reportedly reaching a height of 450 meters (1,500 feet).
“It’s important to note that aircraft are particularly vulnerable when on final approach coming in—the pilot is concentrating on landing properly,” Garneau said.
All parties involved are working together on the investigation into the accident.
“Transport Canada is monitoring the situation and is in contact with its transportation partners including Skyjet, the Jean Lesage International Airport and NAV CANADA [Canada’s air traffic organization],” Garneau said. “My department is in contact with the Service de police de la Ville de Québec and we will cooperate with the Transportation Safety Board should they decide to investigate.”