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