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UK transport minister downplays report of passenger jet drone strike

Speaking before a House of Lords committee, Robert Goodwill said the British Airways flight may have struck a plastic bag as it approached Heathrow on Sunday.

A British Airways Airbus A320 just before landing at Heathrow.
Kent German/CNET

A drone that reportedly struck a British Airways passenger jet on Sunday may have not been a drone at all, a British cabinet minister has said.

Speaking before a House of Lords committee yesterday, transport minister Robert Goodwill said the Airbus A320 could have hit a plastic bag as there was no actual damage to the aircraft itself.

British Airways flight 727 was on approach to London's Heathrow airport from Geneva early Sunday afternoon when Metropolitan Police said the aircraft may have hit a drone. The aircraft landed safely and on schedule and continued on to its next scheduled destination.

"Safety and security are always our first priority," a British Airways spokeswoman said in an emailed statement, "and we will continue to give the authorities every assistance with their investigations." Also in an emailed statement, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said the jet was flying at 1,700 feet when the incident occurred. At present, no arrests have been made and investigation into the matter continues.

Update, 5:33 a.m. PT:Adds comment from Metropolitan Police