Boeing 737 Damaged In Possible Drone Collision

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A Boeing 737 appears to have sustained damage after striking a drone during approach into Mozambique’s main airport on Thursday. It could be among the first confirmed collisions between an airliner and unmanned aircraft, but details were scarce regarding the type of drone and whether any witnesses on board saw it. LAM Mozambique Airlines, the nation’s flagship carrier, reported that the incident occurred during the B737-700’s approach to the airport in Tete. The crew heard a “crash” that sounded like the aircraft struck an object, but proceeded with a normal landing. Eighty passengers were on board, the airline said.

Photos of the Boeing after an inspection on the ground show multiple gashes and cracks on the nose of the jet. While the crew thought initially there was a bird strike, the damage indicates the jet struck something else, as described in a USA Today report. Airline crews around the world have reported possible drone encounters in the past year, increasing concerns over unauthorized flights into busy airspace, but there hasn’t been confirmed evidence of a strike. In March 2016, the crew of a Lufthansa Airbus A380 reported seeing a drone near Los Angeles International Airport. The following month, reports of a British Airways A320 striking a drone were debunked as an investigation turned up no evidence of a drone, but possibly another small object such as a bag.

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