NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork)  There was a scare in the sky Tuesday after a pair of drone sightings disrupted flights at Newark Airport.

The FAA said they received two reports of drones, spotted near Newark’s airspace. The intrusion put all flights in the area at risk.

Arriving home from an eight-hour flight from Norway, the last thing one passenger wanted to deal with was a delay in the sky caused by the drones.

“They shouldn’t be flying near an airport, period. They do and they get caught they’ve got to pay the consequences,” Thor Kongvold said.

Sources told CBS2 the two drones were spotted around 5 p.m. and flew 3,500 feet above Teterboro Airport – less than 20 miles from Newark Liberty International.

Audio from air traffic control at one point spotted the objects flying dangerously close to a plane.

“There’s something flying here, we thought it might be a drone. There is definitely something there.”

“Yes sir, it definitely looks like a drone… We missed the drone about 30 feet away from the right wing.”

The drone sighting prompted a police helicopter search.

This map shows at one point about a dozen planes stopped on the tarmac.

(Credit: TV 10/55)

Some flights were delayed from taking off. Others had to circle the airport several times before they could land.

“They didn’t tell us anything we just went around but the pilot never mentioned anything,” Daffne Barrera told CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.

“About three times more or less. We thought it was about the weather.”

While the disruption at Newark was short-lived, it comes just weeks after drone sightings at London’s Gatwick Airport paralyzed December holiday travel and canceled hundreds of flights.

Also last year, a drone flew dangerously close to a Frontier Airlines flight in Las Vegas.

(Credit: TV 10/55)

It’s all concerning for authorities, especially after a recent study showed what kind of damage a drone colliding with a plane could cause.

  1. William A Morehead says:

    from a local blog tonight on this incident:

    Chaos at NY airports not being reported
    Please pass the word to your family and friends. DO NOT FLY. It is no longer safe to fly as long as this shutdown continues.
    My granddaughter shares an apartment in Brooklyn NY with her significant other He works as an air traffic controller in NY. Tonight they called me and told me of a shocking event that I haven’t even heard on the news.
    I imagine you might have heard of Newark NJ airport closing down for a period of time this evening because of 2 drones that came very close to an aircraft. Because of that event airplanes were going to other airports to land. The air space in NY suddenly became overwhelmed with unexpected airplanes calling in to land. D/T the lack of air traffic controllers coming to work there was just not enough staff to safety land these airplanes. My daughters SO said there is a button to press in an emergency like the one they were experiencing and trained emergency staff comes on the floor to help get the planes in safely. He said he pressed the bottom 3 times and no one ever came. He was put in a terrible unsafe situation of assisting the emergency landing of many airplanes. Luckily no planes crashed and no one died tonight. He was so distraught that he had to leave work 5 hours early seriously emotionally and physically ill. The skies are not safe. He said all airports should be closed until the end of this shutdown. He asked me to please spread the word to tell as many people as possible DO MOT FLY: IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT SAFE.

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