Tag Archives: Chaos

Volunteers strive to stave off shutdown chaos at US parks

Volunteers strive to stave off shutdown chaos at US parksSabra Purdy is just back from Joshua Tree National Park in southern California, which was crammed with tourists. It is high season, and to prevent chaos from the partial shutdown of the US federal government, she put on her gloves, cleaned toilets and picked up trash. The result: hundreds of thousands of federal workers were sent home without pay, including 21,383 employees of the National Park Service (NPS), responsible for 418 facilities nationwide, including national parks, monuments, historic sites and even the White House.



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Volunteers strive to stave off shutdown chaos at US parks

Volunteers strive to stave off shutdown chaos at US parksSabra Purdy is just back from Joshua Tree National Park in southern California, which was crammed with tourists. It is high season, and to prevent chaos from the partial shutdown of the US federal government, she put on her gloves, cleaned toilets and picked up trash. The result: hundreds of thousands of federal workers were sent home without pay, including 21,383 employees of the National Park Service (NPS), responsible for 418 facilities nationwide, including national parks, monuments, historic sites and even the White House.



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After Gatwick chaos, UK minister says detection systems can combat drones

After Gatwick chaos, UK minister says detection systems can combat drones“I can say that we are able to now deploy detection systems throughout the UK to combat this (drone) threat,” Wallace said in a tweet bit.ly/2QQO72E. Three days of drone sightings caused chaos at Britain’s second busiest airport, thought to be the most disruptive incident of its kind, revealing a vulnerability that will be scrutinized by security forces and airport operators worldwide.



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British police scramble for clues in London airport drone chaos

British police scramble for clues in London airport drone chaosBritish police scrambled for answers Sunday after releasing their only suspects in the London Gatwick Airport drone mystery that brought Christmas getaway flights to a standstill. Nearly 140,000 passengers were affected over three days of disruption Wednesday through Friday as Britain’s second-busiest airport shut down because of repeated reports of drone sightings. A damaged drone found near the airport was being forensically examined, police said, but it was not immediately clear whether it was connected to the sightings.



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Chaos at home, fear abroad: Trump unleashed puts western world on edge

Chaos at home, fear abroad: Trump unleashed puts western world on edgeDonald Trump waves as he arrives to speak in Tupelo, Mississippi, in November. The US stumbled into the holiday season with a sense of unravelling, as a large chunk of the federal government ground to a halt, the stock market crashed and the last independently minded, globally respected, major figure left in the administration announced he could no longer work with the president. The defense secretary, James Mattis, handed in his resignation on Thursday, over Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to pull US troops out of Syria.



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Two held over London airport drone chaos as flights resume

Two held over London airport drone chaos as flights resumeTwo middle-aged people were being held Saturday over the suspected “criminal use of drones” at London’s Gatwick Airport, where flights were returning to normal after three days of pre-Christmas disruption affecting 140,000 passengers. Police swooped on a 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman from town of Crawley, which neighbours Britain’s second-busiest airport. A Gatwick spokesman said the airport planned to run a full schedule of 757 flights carrying 124,484 passengers on Saturday.



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The Latest: Hamas says dissolving parliament invites chaos

The Latest: Hamas says dissolving parliament invites chaosGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Latest on Israel and the Palestinian territories (all times local):



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Explainer: How drones caused travel chaos at Britain's Gatwick airport

Explainer: How drones caused travel chaos at Britain's Gatwick airportBy midday on Thursday, Gatwick was describing the “ongoing drone activity around the airfield” as “what appears to be a deliberate attempt” to disrupt flights. In the afternoon, the army was drafted in to Gatwick to deploy “specialist equipment”, the Ministry of Defence said. On Friday morning, Gatwick reopened for a limited number of flights, though warned there would be continued disruption.



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Gatwick drone chaos continues into a third day

Gatwick drone chaos continues into a third dayEnvironmental protests suspected of Gatwick chaos What are the laws surrounding drones at airports? How to claim compensation for disrupted flights Gatwick admit will take "several days" to recover Could a drone really bring down a plane? Harry de Quetteville | Drones: fine line between toy and terror Police are now considering shooting down the drone causing chaos at Gatwick Airport which remained closed on Thursday night.  Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley, of Sussex Police, said there had been more than 50 sightings of the device in the 24 hours since 9pm on Wednesday, when the airport first closed. He said that shooting the drone down was now an option after other strategies failed. Speaking to reporters outside the airport's South Terminal, he said: "We will do what we can to take that drone out of the sky and remove that disruption so we can get Gatwick back to normal. "One of the options is to use firearms officers if that presents itself – they have been out on the ground today and that's a consideration and a tactical option that's open to us. "There are a number of factors in terms of range, the height of the drone and the likely impact on us firing at the drone but that is a tactical option open to the gold commander who will make a decision based on the information available to them at the time." Mr Tingley added police were working on the assumption the drone had been modified, with the "intent of causing disruption", and were looking through CCTV to identify the make and model. He said they were following up a "number of persons of interest" in their investigations, with the military drafted in to offer additional support to officers. harry drone puff Sussex Police formally requested the help of the military and a source told The Telegraph assistance could come in the form of helicopters, vans or soldiers on the ground. Ministry of Defence officials held a meeting to discuss whether or not they needed to deploy, and how to do so, and shortly after on Thursday afternoon Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed the Army would be sent to West Sussex.  He said: "Sussex Police have requested assistance and support from the armed forces, and we'll be deploying the armed forces to give them the help that they need to be able to deal with the situation of the drones at Gatwick airport."  Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick's chief operating officer, said 120,000 passengers' flights had been disrupted. Mr Woodroofe said the airport could remain closed for potentially all of Friday after drone activity was spotted again on Thursday night. He told reporters: "My apologies to all those passengers who have seen this disruption from the criminal activity from these people who are purposely disrupting our airport and their travel so close to Christmas." Mr Woodroofe added: "We have had the police, we have had the military seeking to bring this drone down for the last 24 hours and to date that has not been successful so Gatwick Airport is still closed. "It is closed for the rest of this evening and our intention is to review on an ongoing basis whether we can reopen tomorrow. "But we are working up contingency plans all the way through to no flights tomorrow." Mr Woodroofe refused to comment on the possibility of the airport awarding compensation to passengers who had been affected by the chaos. He added: "The issue from my perspective is that this has been a criminal act purposefully undertaken in order to cause this disruption and I very much hope we bring the perpetrator to justice." Drone interference at Gatwick Airport Mr Woodroofe has spoken of his frustration that every time the airport is in a position to continue its services, a drone is spotted and the plans to get aircraft off the tarmac are forced to be scrapped. He had said the situation would be re-assessed with a view to re-open at 8am, but at 7.40am, the airport said flights remained suspended "due to drone activity". The re-opening time was then pushed back to 10am, then 11am, then midday and then 2pm before the Gatwick executive conceded he could not put a time on the end of the mayhem. Sussex Police described it as "a deliberate act to disrupt the airport", but "there are absolutely no  indications to suggest this is terror related". Have you been affected by the closure of #Gatwick? Send your stories and videos through to yourstory@telegraph.co.uk For updates follow our LIVE t.co/kKAqB6s1Ex— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) December 20, 2018 A member of staff at Gatwick told The Telegraph at 12.20pm that a drone was spotted "within the past hour".  He said there were two drones which had been seen flying "over the perimeter fence and into where the runway operates from". At 3.10pm on Thursday, a drone was spotted above the British Airways tower at Gatwick, within the perimeter of the airport.  Police say the last sighting of the drone was at 4.25pm on Thursday evening. 3:49AM Drone regulation criticised Shadow aviation minister Karl Turner said the regulations around drones were not tight enough and blamed Chris Grayling for failing to act. "There should be wider exclusion zones around airports – I think the law says one kilometre at the moment, it should probably be five kilometres according to the experts," he told BBC2's Newsnight. "The Government should have brought this legislation forward, it's been an abject failure and I blame Chris Grayling. "He should have been in the House of Commons today making a statement and explaining to MPs why the Government has failed to bring this legislation forward." 2:05AM Passengers urged to check flight cancellations A Gatwick Airport statement has urged travellers not to arrive at the airport before checking with their airline if their flight was cancelled. It said: "Passengers due to fly from Gatwick should check the status of their flight with their airline and not travel to the airport if their flight is not confirmed. "We have called in additional staff right across the airport, many from Christmas leave, and are working tirelessly with police and security partners to halt this drone flying and thank passengers for their continued patience." 1:09AM Exclusive: Environmental protesters suspected in Gatwick disruption Environmental protestors are suspected of orchestrating the drone attack that has shut down Gatwick airport amid questions over how they could wreak chaos for 24 hours. Whitehall sources said police were investigating the possibility a ‘lone wolf’ eco-terrorist was behind the attack. “An eco-protest is at this stage a definite line of inquiry,” said the source. One drone  expert said the attack appeared ‘sophisticated’ although there were major concerns over why high-tech jamming and detection equipment developed by the military and GCHQ had not been deployed immediately. In a lengthy statement, Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s boss, described the drone incursion as “a highly targeted activity which has been designed to close the airport and bring maximum disruption in the run up to Christmas”, adding that the airport was “working very closely with the police and the security services to try to resolve this for passengers”. Mr Wingate raised serious concern over how a drone – reckoned to be no bigger than a seagull or football – had been able to buzz above the airport on and off for 24 hours, preventing passenger jets from taking off or landing. Read the full exclusive story here 12:14AM Last sighting of drone was at 4.25pm Police say the last sighting of the drone was at 4.25pm on Thursday evening. Authorities are now working under the assumption that the drone being used has been modified, professionally prepared, and larger than a domestic drone.  11:20PM Police chief denies incident is 'embarrassing'  Detective Chief Supintendent Jason Tangley denied the episode was "embarrassing" for authorities. He added: "There has been national planning and local planning, but of course we are now in a live situation so you can test and you can train for a number of eventualities but it is not always the same when it comes to a real incident and that is what we have found over the last 24 hours. "One of the options is to now use firearms officers if that opportunity presents itself. I know it has been reported and they have been around today. That is a consideration and a tactical option that is open to us. "There are a number of factors there in terms of range, the height of the drone, the likely impact of us firing at the drone, but that is a tactical option available to gold commander who will make decisions based on the information available at the time. "That is a change of approach from what is reported earlier today. Other options aren't working…we have to evolve in terms of what that threat may be. 10:15PM All drone sightings have been made by the naked eye, police tell The Telegraph Speaking to The Telegraph outside Gatwick's south terminal, Det Ch Supt Jason Tingley, of Sussex Police, said all drone sightings had been made by the naked eye. He said: "We have had over 50-plus, both confirmed and unconfirmed sightings of a drone – I'm confident we are dealing with a drone. "We have only seen one drone in the sky at any one time, there have been police officers and other authorities that have seen the drone, we're not just working off members of the public or other independent sightings. "Over those 50-plus sightings we have confirmed a number of them. "It has been seen by the naked eye in terms of identification of what it is, we haven't identified what its specification and model is to date, but obviously that is a specific line of inquiry. "What I personally have learnt in the last three hours is there are a number different types of drones with different capabilities." Pressed on whether it seemed bizarre that a drone pilot had been at large for around 24 hours when the devices are battery powered, he added: "It's not bizarre, it's happening, it's reality, there are a number of options we're considering in terms of remote control, as in remotely controlling it, ie not being close to the airport – the bigger the size of the drone, the bigger capacity it will have in terms of flying time. "We are not ruling out any option in terms of where the perpetrator might be." On the number of potential suspects, he said: "We don't know how many people are involved, at the minimum of one, but there could be a group of people involved in this in terms of having the capacity to be able to operate and cause the amount of destruction they have." He added that police had not found any drones that have crash-landed. 10:04PM Police say armed officers could now be used to shoot down the drone Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley, from Sussex Police specialist crime command, told reporters at Gatwick this evening that a policy change meant that firearms could be used to shoot down the drone. He said the use of firearms “will be within our suite of tactical options available to us going forward”. “The assessment earlier on today was that we wouldn’t be using firearms and capability to deal with the drone. “This is a continually reviewed process so you will know and have seen that we have firearms officers deployed today.” He said there have been over 50 sightings of a drone near Gatwick Airport. Speaking outside the South Terminal, he added: "We don't know what the drone specification is. "Our working assumption is it's larger than what someone might buy online, we think it may have been adapted and developed. "We're working through CCTV footage and trying to identify the make and model." 9:36PM New drone sighting within the last hour, says Gatwick chief There has been another drone sighting in the last hour and Gatwick airport will remain closed for the rest of the evening, Gatwick chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe told the BBC "We will review overnight whether there is any potential to open tomorrow," he said. 9:29PM A Telegraph reporter at Gatwick has spotted a delayed passenger challenging Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley from Sussex Police The senior officer is about the speak to journalists at the airport, but was stopped by an angry passenger who demanded police action to bring down the drone. Furious Gatwick passenger spots an opportunity to give Det Ch Supt Jason Tingley an earful: "It's a piece of plastic!' pic.twitter.com/sKNtsdmhF8— Jack Hardy (@JackHardy9) December 20, 2018   9:23PM It appears members of the public have been offering Sussex Police ideas on ways to bring down the drone… #GatwickDrones | Earlier we appealed for information. We thank everyone for their help but we ask that information shared with us is focused on the identity or location of the #drone operator. We are employing all available options to deal with the drone.— Sussex Police (@sussex_police) December 20, 2018   9:12PM Police say they are continuing to hunt for the drone operator tonight Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley, from Sussex Police specialist crime command, said: "This is a particularly challenging situation and my heart goes out to all travellers who have been affected by this criminal behaviour. "We are working very closely with Gatwick Airport Limited and the Civil Aviation Authority, and are in close consultation with the government and other agencies in an effort to keep people safe and to resolve this incident as swiftly as possible. "In addition to the searches that are taking place on and around the airfield, we are deploying a number of tactical options to detect and counter these drone activities and bring this to a safe conclusion. Extra officers have been brought in to support the operation. "Our assessment, based upon the information that we have available to us, is that this incident is not terrorism-related." 8:59PM 'We must clamp down on malicious drone use,' aviation minister Baroness Sugg writes in The Telegraph "We’ve consulted widely and will be strengthening those existing rules even more," she writes. "We are working with drone manufacturers and the wider industry on technical solutions, such as ‘geo-fencing’, which means software and data contained in a drone can stop it from flying in certain areas, like airports and prisons. "The government is also testing technology to detect and counter drones, supporting the development and trialling of new equipment. "We recently consulted on the use of counter-drone technology in the UK and the government will be developing policy in this area." 8:35PM Passengers 'unlikely to receive compensation from airlines'  Stranded passengers expressed confusion and anger last night after it emerged that they faced having to pay exorbitant prices to rebook flights and were unlikely to receive compensation from airlines, Martin Evans and Patrick Sawyer report. Thousands of travellers who had been expecting to head off around the world for Christmas were last night desperately trying to make alternative arrangements following the drone attack at Gatwick. But with many flights already fully booked some were left with no choice but to scrap their Christmas plans. Passengers wait for announcements at Gatwick South Terminal Credit: Getty The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) warned that while refunds would be paid to those whose flights had been cancelled airlines were not obliged to pay compensation because the crisis had been classified as an "extraordinary circumstance". Those who were able to rebook flights from other airports faced having to pay hugely inflated prices on the cost of the original ticket. A spokesman said for the CAA, said: “Under EU261 regulations, passengers that no longer wish to take their flight can contact their airline for a refund. "For those passengers that do still wish to fly, we advise them to contact their airline to understand the options available. “Given the reasons for the current disruption at Gatwick Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority considers this event to be an extraordinary circumstance. "In such circumstances airlines are not obliged to pay financial compensation to passengers affected by the disruption.” The disruption is also unlikely to be covered by travel insurance, but those on package trips will be covered by their operator. 8:28PM Number of aircraft near misses involving drones has more than tripled in two years The number of aircraft near misses involving drones has more than tripled in two years with regular incidents witnessed at all of the UK's major airports, Martin Evans reports. In 2017 there were 92 near misses which was up from 71 the previous year and 29 in 2015. Drones must not be flown in airspace above 400ft or in the vicinity of airports without permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. In October last year an Airbus A321 coming into land at Heathrow Airport flew so close to a drone that the pilot thought it had crashed into the plane. A collision was reported at the same airport in April 2016 after a British Airways pilot said his plane, which had been coming into land at Heathrow Terminal 5, had been hit by a drone. In July 2016 a passenger jet almost collided with a drone while flying above the Shard, London's tallest skyscraper. Just days later a drone came within just five meters of a plane taking off from Liverpool's John Lennon Airport. In August a drone came within 50ft of a Boeing 737 that was coming into land at Stansted Airport in Essex. The aircraft landed safely but the drone operator was never traced. In 2016 Dubai International Airport had to be closed three times due to illegal drone activity. Safety tests have suggested that a 2kg drone could do critical damage to a passenger aircraft's cockpit windscreen. Many US airports have frequency jammers and early warning systems to prevent drones getting anywhere near the aircraft or runways. 8:25PM Why is a drone near the airport dangerous? What make is it and what is the range?  While we don't know the model of the precise drone which has led to the delays, there are some questions we can answer – what are the rules of flying them near airports and what is the range of a drone? Telegraph reporter Martin Evans answers the questions you may have. What sort of drone is it? While the make and model of drone has not been established it is likely to be an off the shelf device weighing around 2kg and available for as little as £500. An image of a drone (not the drone sought after) and an aircraft. Gatwick airport remains closed this morning after drones were spotted over the airfield last night and this morning. Credit: John Stillwell/PA What is the range of a drone? Drones can be operated from up to three miles away and usually have a battery life of around 30 minutes before they need to be recharged. Why are they so dangerous around airports? Safety tests have suggested that a drone weighing around 2kg could cause significant damage to a commercial airliner's cockpit windscreen. Simply seeing a drone close to the plane could also distract a pilot during the crucial take off and landing stage. But the most dangerous scenario would be if the drone was sucked into the aircraft turbine, causing the engine to fail. What are the rules around flying drones near airports? In July new legislation made it illegal to fly a drone within 1km (0.62 miles)of an airport or at a height above 400ft. Those who break the laws could receive an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison. Do you need a licence to fly a drone? In 2017 the Government announced that it was introducing laws that would require individuals to register when they bought a drone weighing more than 250g (8.8oz) and undergo a series of tests on their flying skills and knowledge of the law. However the introduction of those laws have been delayed and are not due to come into force until November 2019. Hundreds of thousands of smaller drones are expected to be given as presents for Christmas this year, with no checks made on a person's ability to fly them safely. How can drones be brought down? The signal allowing the operator to fly the drone can be jammed using a directional antenna which sends out high powered radio waves on the same frequency. Less sophisticated options including firing a net at the drone but this only works at relatively low altitudes. In Holland, Dutch police have even trained large birds of prey to pluck drones out of the sky with their talons.  8:16PM Passengers shouldn't come to Gatwick 'for the forseeable future' A spokesperson from Gatwick Airport spokesperson said passengers should not come to the airport "for the foreseeable future – including tomorrow". A Gatwick Airport spokesperson says passengers should not come to the airport "for the foreseeable future including tomorrow"— Sky News Breaking (@SkyNewsBreak) December 20, 2018     8:09PM Passengers told to get coaches to Gatwick from Liverpool airport – without their luggage Rachel Verds was on a Norwegian flight diverted to Liverpool airport in the early hours of Thursday morning when they were 'advised to leave' despite their luggage still being on board.  "There was no Norwegian staff at all and when we got in around 2am, the police told us we were unable to get our bags off the planes," she told the Telegraph's Amita Joshi.  "This morning we discovered our luggage is still on board and they're not able to unload it there or get it back to Gatwick." Like other fellow passengers stranded, Rachel decided to pay for a train to London, but still has had no information on their luggage. "I have had a text from Norwegian asking us to email them to log a missing luggage report but we know where the luggage is – sitting on the empty plane in Liverpool," she said.  7:52PM Travel companies confirm some flights will be running from alternate airport Travel companies such as TUI have said certain flights will now be running from alternate airports as a result of the delay.  On their website, flights departing on Friday 21st December to the following destinations, originally from Gatwick, are now listed to fly from Stansted Airport:  Puerto Vallarta Phuket   7:35PM London North Eastern Railway offer stranded passengers free travel  Passengers who were set to fly from London to Edinburgh have been offered free travel on London North Eastern Railway trains – all that is needed is your flight tickets.  Has your flight between London #GatwickAirport and Edinburgh been cancelled today? If so, you can use your flight tickets to travel on our trains today for FREE. #HomeforChristmas �� t.co/iEB3oRh2Nv— London North Eastern Railway (@LNER) December 20, 2018   7:10PM The military has arrived, according to our man on the ground. From Jack Hardy: "The military had arrived at Gatwick Airport by 7pm. "A line of vans were parked outside the police station near the airport perimeter, containing men in camouflage gear." 6:41PM Chaos for passengers at Heathrow as BA systems crash Uh oh. There are also problems at Heathrow. The BA IT system has crashed, according to a passenger from The Westminster Bubble who is there now – they've been told paperwork now being manually delivered to planes. "150 aircraft awaiting clearance to take off", their pilot said— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) December 20, 2018 BA Computer crash at Heathrow. Delays expected no check in currently available— ����Merry Mar A Lago ���� (@Sunny2shoes) December 20, 2018 @British_Airways What’s going on at Heathrow? Looks like all check-in desks aren’t working and queues are just getting longer and longer. Not getting any info. Will flights leave without everyone who haven’t been able to check in?— Christopher Paul (@cjcjpaul) December 20, 2018 The computer system used by several airlines failed, meaning passengers had to be checked in manually with their passports. British Airways said no flights have been delayed and the system is back in business.   6:36PM Southern Rail latest operator to offer stranded passengers free travel �� Have you been affected by the #drones at Gatwick today ✈️? If your travel plans have been changed, we’ve made the following arrangements to help get you on the move without any further hassle. ℹ️Latest info here�� t.co/wvJZWLoSGtpic.twitter.com/A7XSUYJJ53— Southern (@SouthernRailUK) December 20, 2018   6:29PM Eurostar confirms its prices have risen due to increased demand Many passengers destined for Gatwick ended up in Paris today after flights were diverted, meaning many are relying on the Eurostar to get to London. The company confirmed reports of price hikes were true: Hi Ray, prices increase according to how busy the trains are and as they are exceptionally busy at the moment, at this peak travel period, prices reflect this.— Eurostar UK (@EurostarUK) December 20, 2018 Did I hear that right? -Eurostar have put their prices up today and this weekend? How can you do that to the families that are stranded!? #GatwickDrone— Emma Lambert (@Emmaaa_95) December 20, 2018   6:09PM Gatwick CEO: "We share your anger and frustration – this cannot happen again." Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick, has apologised to passengers and said he is not able to say when it will be safe to reopen the airport.  He added: "This is a highly targeted activity which has been designed to close the airport and bring maximum disruption in the run up to Christmas. We are working very closely with the police and the security services to try to resolve this for passengers." He also said that more needs to be done to prevent these kinds of disruptions, adding: "These events obviously highlight a wider strategic challenge for aviation in this country which we need to address together with speed – the aviation industry, Government and all the other relevant authorities. It cannot be right that drones can close a vital part of our national infrastructure in this way. This is obviously a relatively new technology and we need to think through together the right solutions to make sure it cannot happen again." Read his full statement here. 6:00PM Systems crash, websites fail and companies overrun with tweets  Those trying to find information about their flights have been facing headaches as websites of most of the major flight operators are crashing due to overuse. Gatwick Airport has said it will be unable to reply to everyone in a timely manner because of  the volume of tweets it has received. People trying to phone their operators reported waits of an hour. .@Fly_Norwegian how about a reply to my DM or even just pick up the phone? Been on hold more than an hour… for the second time #GatwickDrone#Gatwick— Emma Reynolds (@emmareyn) December 20, 2018 @British_Airways what is going on with your website? I am trying to rebook my Gatwick flight, I was talking to someone on DM but they now aren’t responding. Also tried to call but apparently the booking system is down??— Jen Harper (@JenHarp92077409) December 20, 2018 @British_Airways hello, i am trying to look at flights and hotels on your website and it’s not working it keeps saying ‘not available’ please help if you can— bethanyy♡ (@jdbsmoonlight) December 20, 2018       5:52PM Night flying restrictions lifted at other airports Transport secretary Chris Grayling said that restrictions on flying overnight have now been lifted at other airports as well as Gatwick, to ease disruption. He added: "It's pretty clear that this is a fairly large drone, not the classic plastic garden drone that you'll see this is a commercial sized drone that is clearly being operated deliberately in a way that when Gatwick tries to reopen the runway the drone reappears, so this is clearly a deliberate act." He said there was a "very clear message to whoever is doing this" that there is a "five year jail sentence for this kind of action and anyone who does this should expect to go to jail for many years. "There is no suggestion that this is a terrorist act…it is clearly someone who wants to disrupt Gatwick Airport." 5:30PM Easyjet says disruption likely to continue well into Friday and cancels all flights A spokesman said: "Customers on cancelled flights, will be entitled to a free of charge transfer to an alternative flight and hotel accommodation if required. "We will also reimburse any reasonable expenses incurred by passengers who arrange their own comparable alternative transport." He added: “Whilst the situation is outside of our control, we recognise how frustrating this is for everyone involved and would like to apologise to passengers for the disruption to their travel plans. “The safety of its passengers and crew remains our highest priority.” The company said to check flight status using its flighttracker or app. We are making every effort to get people to their destination but following reports of drones flying over @Gatwick_Airport, the runway remains closed and flights are currently suspended. We have cancelled all flights due to operate to or from LGW today. t.co/y4Y2Cy0j40— easyJet Press Office (@easyJet_press) December 20, 2018 Confirmation from easyJet, that they have cancelled remaining flights from Gatwick this evening. Please check with your airline for further information. Flights from Gatwick continue to be suspended. We're very sorry for the ongoing disruption. t.co/2Z2ZYqwj4o— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport) December 20, 2018   5:21PM Chaos as delayed travelers stuck in hour-long queues to leave airport As planefuls of passengers were asked to leave after waiting in the airport all day, there were crams and queues to leave. Many reported standing for up to an hour and a half in a queue just to get out.   5:13PM Countdown's Rachel Riley among those stranded She, among others on her Thomas Cook flight, have been sent home for the evening. Passengers are waiting to find out whether they will be rebooked on a new flight – but after waiting all day it seems their patience is wearing thin. Everyone sent home. No news of if or when we’ll be rebooked. Good luck to all the families trying to get away for Christmas.@ThomasCookUK#GatwickDrones— Rachel Riley (@RachelRileyRR) December 20, 2018   5:06PM Gatwick will be closed until 10pm at the earliest Eurocontrol keeps extending the time Gatwick will be shut until, the latest update is 10pm. 4:42PM Culprits should face 'maximum possible sentence', Transport Secretary says In an emailed statement, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "This is clearly a very serious ongoing incident in which substantial drones have been used to bring about the temporary closure of a major international airport. "The people who were involved should face the maximum possible custodial sentence for the damage they have done. "Government is doing everything it can to support Sussex police." 4:36PM Gatwick drones situation is like 'kidnap' situation EasyJet customer Andrea Tortora del Lacorte arrived at 5.30am for his flight from Gatwick to Naples at 7.10am, writes Phoebe Southworth at Gatwick. The 25-year-old business lawyer from London said he got to the departure gates at the North Terminal but he and other passengers were then told every hour that their flights had been delayed. He claims EasyJet staff refused to let passengers leave the departure lounge unless their flight had been cancelled. Andrea said he called police and security because the incident was like a "kidnap" situation. He said staff seemed "totally unprepared" for events such as these. "If this had been a terrorist attack then we would all be dead," he said. "We were not given any accurate information and they weren't allowing us to move. "There was a woman with me who had medication she needed in her luggage. "I feel totally frustrated. I just want to go home." Andrea has now rebooked his flight to Naples for tomorrow travelling from Luton. Frustrated passengers at Gatwick Credit: Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph Easyjet told The Telegraph: “Following reports of drones flying over Gatwick Airport the runway is closed and all flights are currently suspended whilst investigations take place.  “We advise all customers flying to and from London Gatwick today to not travel to the airport if they are on flights which have been cancelled. Customers can check the status of their flight on our Flight Tracker or via the app. “We are making every effort to get people to their destination at this important time of the year. Customers on cancelled flights today, will be entitled to a free of charge transfer to an alternative flight and hotel accommodation if required. We will also reimburse any reasonable expenses incurred by passengers who arrange their own comparable alternative transport. “Whilst the situation is outside of our control we would like to apologise to passengers for the inconvenience caused by the diversions and resultant delays and cancellations.  “The safety of its passengers and crew is the airline’s highest priority.” 4:23PM Defence Secretary confirms Army will be sent to Gatwick Ministry of Defence officials held a meeting to discuss whether or not they needed to deploy, and how to do so, and shortly after on Thursday afternoon Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed the Army would be sent to West Sussex.  He said: "Sussex Police have requested assistance and support from the armed forces, and we'll be deploying the armed forces to give them the help that they need to be able to deal with the situation of the drones at Gatwick airport.  "It goes to demonstrate how our armed forces are always there, ready to support the civilian authorities. Gavin Williamson leaving Downing Street Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley Asked if he could reveal how the Army would respond, he added: "Sadly, at this moment it is not something we can actually reveal, but the armed forces have a range of unique capabilities and this isn't something that we would usually deploy, but we are there to assist and do everything we can so that they are in a position to open the airport at the earliest possible opportunity." 4:13PM Cross-Whitehall meeting of officials in response to Gatwick The Prime Minister's official spokesman said a cross-Whitehall meeting of officials is taking place in response to the drone incident. The meeting of officials, but not ministers, is taking place in the Cabinet Office and began at 3pm, the spokesman said. Officials from the Department for Transport, Home Office, the police and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat are among those involved in the meeting. 4:10PM Drone spotted above British Airways tower At 3.10pm on Thursday, a drone was spotted above the British Airways tower at Gatwick, within the perimeter of the airport.  Between 11.20am and 12.20pm, there was another sighting understood to be within the no-fly zone at Gatwick but not directly above the runway.  Here are the known sightings so far:  9pm Wednesday  3.45am Thursday 7.40am Thursday 11.20am – 12.20pm Thursday 3.10pm Thursday 4:03PM Army and GCHQ have capability to take control of drones Lord West of Spithead, a a retired senior officer of the Royal Navy, told the House of Lords on Thursday that the Army and GCHQ have developed the capability to both jam drones or over-ride their control systems enabling them to land the aircraft safely.  Talking to Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg, he said: "Our military and GCHQ have developed the ability to be able to identify the frequency very rapidly to actually be able to jam it or take control of the drone and land it.  "Is this ability being given more broadly to various airports? How is this being done?  "Because clearly we have not actually taken any action for a number of years to try and resolve this issue." 3:29PM Sussex Police call in The Army amid Gatwick drone chaos BREAKING: Sussex Police have formally requested the help of the Army to deal with the drones at Gatwick. Source tells me it could come in the form of helicopters, vans or troops on the ground. MoD officials currently in a meeting to discuss how/if to deploy.— Gareth Davies (@GD10) December 20, 2018   3:07PM Theresa May 'feels for' Gatwick passengers Prime Minister Theresa May said the she feels for passengers who have had their travel disrupted. She told a press conference at Lancaster House: "I feel for all those passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted by this drone activity and the action that's had to be taken in response to it. "Obviously at this particular time of year this is particularly difficult for people. "We've already passed legislation in relation to the use of drones so it is now, as has been made clear, that the activity that we've seen is illegal and those who are caught endangering aircraft can face up to five years in prison. Theresa May at the UK-Poland Inter-Governmental Consultations at Lancaster House, London, on Thursday Credit: Adrian Dennis/PA "That's legislation we've already introduced and actually we're consulting on further aspects of this including for police powers, but we will continue to work with the Gatwick authorities and police will be working with the Gatwick authorities in order to bring this to a close, such that people will be able to get on to the travel that they were expecting over the Christmas period." 2:31PM Runway still unavailable, almost 18 hours after first drone sighting Gatwick said in a statement: "Gatwick Airport's runway remains unavailable because of drone sightings. "We have advised all airlines to cancel flights up to at least 4pm this afternoon, while keeping the situation under constant review. "There is significant disruption at Gatwick and our terminals are extremely busy. "We are prioritising the welfare of passengers during this very difficult time, and have teams across the airport looking after them as best we can. "We anticipate disruption to continue throughout the day and into tomorrow. "Any passengers due to fly today or tomorrow should not set off for Gatwick without checking flight information with their airline. "We are extremely disappointed that what appears to be deliberate action is affecting journeys at this important time of year. "We are working tirelessly with our airlines to put plans in place to recover our operation once given the go-ahead that our runway can reopen. "Once again we apologise for the continued disruption. Safety is our absolute priority." 1:58PM Police on airport roof scanning skies for drones Police officers are now stationed on the roof of Gatwick Airport police station, scanning the skies for any sign of a drone, reports Jack Hardy. Police on the roof at Gatwick Next to the officers sat what appeared to be a high-tech spectrum analyser, which detects changes in frequency – such as that caused by an approaching drone. It raises the possibility that jammers could be deployed to bring down the device in the air. 1:25PM Gatwick to remain closed until safe, says Detective Superintendent Detective Superintendent Juliet Parker of Sussex and Surrey Police told the BBC: "We've committed a lot of resources to this. Progress may seem like it is slow, but we are doing everything we can with Gatwick to resolve this with the safety of the public absolutely paramount." When asked whether the airport would be open soon she said: "At the moment, until we can guarantee it's absolutely safe, then this is the right thing to do at this time." 1:04PM Other British airports remain on standby to take in Gatwick flights Airports across Britain remain on standby to take in more diverted flights if the disruption at Gatwick continues.  A Stansted Airport spokesman said that their operations have not been impacted by the disruption at Gatwick.  The airport took in 11 flights diverted from West Sussex, the last of which landed at 1.20am.  "Obviously the people on those flights have been affected, but in terms of the impact on us, there has been none.  "It came at a time when the schedule was not as busy." Flights were also diverted to Heathrow, and a spokeswoman told The Telegraph: “As a result of the drone sightings at Gatwick Airport we have received some diverted flights, however Heathrow is operating as normal and will fly its full schedule.  "In response to events at Gatwick, we have increased patrols around our airport and would like to remind the public that unauthorised use of a drone around an airport can carry a custodial sentence of up to five years.” Eight flights in total were diverted to Luton Airport from Gatwick, the last of which being a Wow Air flight from Iceland on Thursday morning.  A spokesman told The Telegraph there had been no significant disruption, but conceded there had been delays to some flights.  "But that's not unexpected given the time of year. Obviously the longer it continues, the bigger the knock-on effect.  "Schedules are going to be overrun, crew and aircraft are going to be in the wrong places and people will have worked their overtime, so our advice is to check with the airline." Cardiff Airport also took eight flights – four from Easyjet in the early hours and four from British Airways on Thursday morning, the latest landing at 9.34am.  A spokeswoman said it was in close contact with air traffic control and was on standby to take more diversions if needed.  "It's a fluid situation, but our normal services are running as normal and have not been affected," she told The Telegraph. 12:40PM Airport recovery will take 'several days' Gatwick's chief operating officer, Chris Woodroofe, confirmed a recent drone sighting and said disruption would continue for several days. He told BBC News: "There are 110,000 passengers due to fly today, and the vast majority of those will see cancellations and disruption. "We have had within the last hour another drone sighting so at this stage we are not open and I cannot tell you what time we will open. Airport recovery will take 'several days' Credit: Tim Ireland/AP "It was on the airport, seen by the police and corroborated. So having seen that drone that close to the runway it was unsafe to reopen. "Realistically if we do reopen today, what the airlines will seek to do is deal with the passengers who are on site and to prepare for an operation tomorrow morning where we repatriate passengers who are in the wrong place. "It's realistically going to take several days to recover." 12:34PM Armed officers spotted on the runway at Gatwick Armed police are seen next to the runway at Gatwick airport as the hunt for a drone operator continues Credit: LNP/Peter Macdiarmid   12:33PM Drone spotted at Gatwick 'within the past hour' A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said another sighting of the drone had been reported "within the past hour" when asked for an update at 12.20pm, reports Jack Hardy at Gatwick. It is understood the drone did not enter the perimeter of the airport but was  seen nearby. Shortly after 11am there was a flurry of police activity centred on one of the country lanes near the airport. Around round six police vehicles including a van and a dog unit descended on  Bonnetts Lane, apparently directed by a helicopter hovering overhead. One officer could be seen shrugging as he emerged from farmland along the road. It is unclear if they were responding to the latest sighting.  12:27PM Aviation minister faces calls for stricter drone controls In the Lords, Lady Sugg faced calls from the Liberal Democrats for more stringent controls on drones and denied claims by Labour that the Government had been "dragging its feet" on the issue. Lady Sugg said the disruption was extensive and the police operation was ongoing, adding that anyone endangering an aircraft could face up to five years in jail. She said the Government "absolutely need to make sure that we introduce new laws to ensure drones are used safely and responsibly" after tougher controls were brought in earlier this year. But Labour's Lord Harris of Haringey said the Government had repeatedly "dragged its feet" on the introduction of technology ensuring drones could be disabled and brought safely to the ground. Lady Sugg denied being complacent on the issue, insisting the Government had taken clear action this year by introducing exclusion zones and consulting on extending police powers. 12:15PM Police believe drones are of ' industrial specification' #GatwickDrones | The #drone image in our previous tweets was used for illustrative purposes only and not the devices being sought. It is believed that the #Gatwick devices used are of an industrial specification. We are continuing to search for the operators pic.twitter.com/NBW6Oh1M3c— Sussex Police (@sussex_police) December 20, 2018   11:48AM Drone acts 'irresponsible and completely unacceptable', PM says Theresa May's official spokesman said that the drone activity at Gatwick was "irresponsible and completely unacceptable". He added: "These drones have been flown illegally and the law couldn't be clearer that those found endangering aircraft could face up to five years in jail. "We are in close contact with Gatwick Airport as they work with police to safely resolve the situation as quickly as possible." 11:39AM Have there been drone incidents at airports in the past? According to the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), there were already 117 near misses between manned aircraft and drones up until November this year, compared to 93 for the whole of 2017. This is not the first time an incident involving drones has been reported at London Gatwick. In October, it was reported that a drone "put 130 lives at risk" after nearly hitting an aircraft approaching the airport over the summer. According to the UK Airprox Board, the flying gadget passed directly over the right wing of the Airbus A319 as it was preparing to land at the West Sussex airport in July. Also in October, a drone collided with a commercial aircraft as it was approaching to land in Canada. There were six passengers and two crew on the aircraft and the drone connected with its wing, but fortunately it suffered only minor damage, allowing it to land safely at Jean Lesage International Airport in Quebec City. 11:36AM Misery at Gatwick continues: in pictures People sleep on airport benches Credit: Eddie Mitchell Stranded passengers forced to sleep on their luggage Credit: Eddie Mitchell A police helicopter on the runway at Gatwick airport Credit: LNP/Peter Macdiarmid Birds fly near the runway as four vehicles check the surface at Gatwick Credit: LNP/Peter Macdiarmid   11:15AM Flights suspended until at least 2pm, airport staff say All flights at Gatwick Airport are suspended until 2pm, reports Phoebe Southworth at Gatwick. Airport staff are waiting for clearance from police and the aviation authorities that flights can resume. It is expected to take at least an hour between the drone being removed from above the runway and planes being able to Ieave. Kalim, 44, from London, was supposed to fly to Hurghada, Egypt, with 17 other family members for a one-week holiday. "We're all very stressed because my sister has heart problems and my dad is 88 years old and in a wheelchair," he said. "Luckily we didn't check in our bags. We're going to try to find an alternative route now." He and his large group are waiting at Gatwick a North Terminal while they plan their next steps. 10:48AM Police plead for help and suggest there is more than one culprit #GatwickDrones | We are appealing for information to help us identify the operators of the #Gatwick#drones. If you know who's responsible or have any information please call 999 and quote ref 1350-19/12. Please RT pic.twitter.com/jkcakBohMr— Sussex Police (@sussex_police) December 20, 2018 10:33AM Police playing cat and mouse with drone Sussex Police have been chasing shadows for 10 hours in an attempt to restore service at Gatwick airport.  Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw Gatwick Airport policing commander said every time they get near the drone, it disappears. And then when they try to re-open the runway, it re-appears. He said: "We believe this to be a deliberate act to disrupt the airport. However, there are absolutely no indications to suggest this is terror related." The Sussex force said the first report was made shortly after 9pm Wednesday and the last sighting around 8.45am on Thursday. Officers from Sussex and Surrey, and a police helicopter, are patrolling the airfield and surrounding areas to try to find the drones and the operators. A police helicopter searching for the drone Credit: Pete Summers/PA Mr Burtenshaw said he was "absolutely convinced it's a deliberate act to disrupt Gatwick Airport". "We're still getting sightings of a drone in and around the airfield," he told BBC News. "I've got over 20 units from Surrey and Sussex, and from the airport, searching for the drone operator to try to locate him, and we're exploring other options at the moment to try to bring this situation to a close." Asked if was a deliberate act, Mr Burtenshaw said: "Absolutely. This has been going on for 10 hours now. Each time we believe we get close to the operator, the drone disappears; when we look to reopen the airfield, the drone reappears. I'm absolutely convinced it's a deliberate act to disrupt Gatwick Airport." He added there had been no intelligence this was going to happen, saying it was "a random act that's happened overnight". Asked if he thought the operator would be caught, he said: "I'm convinced we will. It's a painstaking thing with the new drones – the bigger the drone, the bigger the reach of the operator, so it's a difficult and challenging thing to locate them, but I've got teams now and I've got investigators looking at how we do that, and I'm confident we will." 10:25AM Passenger 'lies about being a terrorist' to get off stranded plane A passenger on one of the planes affected by the drone disruption claimed a fellow flyer decided to lie about being a terrorist in order to get off the flight: So Gatwick is shut due to drones so our flight TOM687 has been diverted to Stansted,so far we've been stuck on our plane for 4 hours.. a man has opened the plane door and put everyone at risk & then another guy says he's a terrorist Living pure hell right now �� #GatwickAirportpic.twitter.com/1qgF5mxsZf— Lyndsey Clarke (@LyndseyClarke10) December 20, 2018 The staff on flight TOM687 have been amazing but unfortunately they have been subject to so much abuse �� we all just want to get home #GatwickAirport— Lyndsey Clarke (@LyndseyClarke10) December 20, 2018 Several passengers on flight TOM687 just making this ordeal sonawful, abusive to staff , shouting at other passengers ! Police here now ! #GatwickAirportpic.twitter.com/tRdhyLOdsZ— Lyndsey Clarke (@LyndseyClarke10) December 20, 2018 Finally off the plane of living hell ! Now to find a taxi back to Gatwick with a big bill ! Passengers trying to go together ! #GatwickAirportpic.twitter.com/9ZUGDa5rC8— Lyndsey Clarke (@LyndseyClarke10) December 20, 2018 Never been so happy to see our car ! Back at Gatwick finally … 8 hours later than our scheduled flight was due to arrive home at 21.30 .. just over an hour's drive home now #GatwickAirportpic.twitter.com/ScmWfR2PDn— Lyndsey Clarke (@LyndseyClarke10) December 20, 2018 As for the terrorist…I have no words that someone thought it was ok to terrifying an aircraft by saying he was a terrorist when in fact he was using it as an "idea" to get them to let us off the plain �� causing many of us to have panic attacks as we didn't know if he was real— Lyndsey Clarke (@LyndseyClarke10) December 20, 2018 10:17AM Sussex Police say 'no indication' of terrorism #GatwickDrones | We are carrying out a joint search w/ @Gatwick_Airport for the operators of #drones sighted at #Gatwick. Public safety is paramount and we will take all available actions to disrupt this deliberate act. There are no indications to suggest this is terror related. pic.twitter.com/J36d0Xzo2G— Sussex Police (@sussex_police) December 20, 2018   10:13AM Passengers told to check in luggage without guarantee of flight Hundreds of passengers are queueing up in the departures lounge at Gatwick's North Terminal as they wait to hear if their flights will be leaving, reports Phoebe Southworth from Gatwick. Notice boards are telling travellers that they will be updated shortly and many have been told to check-in their bags despite no guarantee their flights will take off. Maureen Brenton, 51, was due to fly to Lanzarote with her family for a two-week holiday on a 7.40am flight.  She has been at the airport since 2am after driving down from her home in Southampton and has been perched on a railing running around the floor of the departure lounge with her two children, aged 13 and 14, for hours.  "A chair would be nice!" she said.  "We got here really early this morning and were told to check in our bags but we've just been waiting.  "They have been updating us on the tannoy but we don't know what is going to happen.  "We've already lost a day in Lanzarote."  Brothers Nick and Harry George, aged 18 and 21, from Surrey, were supposed to be flying to Malaga at 9.30am to meet their parents for a one-week holiday. They checked in their bags then were told shortly later that their flight had been cancelled. Harry said: "The flight had been delayed and delayed and delayed and now it has been cancelled. "If they had told us the flight might be cancelled we could have gone to another airport. Now we're going to try Heathrow.  "We've been told to just collect our bags and leave as soon as we can. "Luckily we were just going for a holiday but there are a lot of people heading to weddings and funerals." Referring to the operator of the drone, he added: "Why are they doing this? It is the most antisocial thing to do." 10:07AM Police could be given more powers to stop Gatwick repeat Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said the Government was considering extending police powers to prevent drones causing airport disruption in the future. She told BBC News: "I think it's important to be clear this is a crime, this drone is being flown illegally. "Earlier this year we changed the law to make it illegal to fly within a kilometre of an airport and I know that police are out and trying to bring the drone down as quickly as possible. "This is an illegal act. We are also looking to extend police powers and early in the new year we'll be looking at our next steps on that. "The other thing we're looking at is counter-drone technology. Technology in this area is obviously moving incredibly quickly, but we need to make sure we're able to stop such activity in future." Baroness Sugg Credit: PA/Joe Giddens Baroness Sugg said authorities were hoping to get Gatwick open as quickly as possible as people travel for the Christmas break. She added: "Our priority is to get that airport open as safely as possible so that people can fly off on their Christmas breaks, or people who are coming in to visit friends and family. "The police are working to bring the drone down, and I am confident that they will do so. " 9:42AM Gatwick update passengers to say all flights are suspended  Usually the saying goes no news is good news, but not if you are caught up in the chaos at Gatwick.  Once again, the airport's communications team took to Twitter to keep passengers updated, but there was no change in message, with no commitment to effectively re-open the runway. 1/2 Thurs 09.15: All flights to and from Gatwick are suspended due to ongoing drone activity activity around the airport. Unfortunately, there are significant delays and cancellations to all flights today.— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport) December 20, 2018 2/2 Please do not travel to the airport without checking the status of your flight with your airline first. We apologise to everyone affected, but the safety of all our passengers and staff is our no.1 priority.— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport) December 20, 2018 9:35AM More needs to be done, warns Gatwick's MP Gatwick's Conservative MP for Crawley Henry Smith said more needs to be done to stamp out these types of incidents:  The closure of Gatwick Airport for 12 hours now due to drone flying appears to be a deliberate criminal act with geofencing breached. I’ve previously raised this issue in Parliament and will be again. The sentence is now 5 years in prison but further efforts are clearly required.— Henry Smith MP ���� (@HenrySmithUK) December 20, 2018   9:33AM Pregnant women forced to sleep on floor in 'freezing' terminal Andri Kyprianou, from Cyprus, who had been visiting London, said she saw a pregnant woman sleeping on the floor and passengers with infants spending the night in the "freezing" South Terminal. She said she got to the airport at 12.30am for a 3am flight to Cyprus via Kiev, only to find it had been cancelled, and that the next connection in Kiev is on Sunday. She said: "I haven't slept since yesterday morning, we are very tired. It's freezing, we are cold, having to wear all of these coats for extra blankets. "There were pregnant women, one of them was sleeping on the floor. There were people with small babies in here overnight, we saw disabled people on chairs. "There were young children sleeping on the floor." A passenger – like many – sleeps on the floor in Gatwick's south terminal  Credit: Peter Nicholls/Reuters She said she will have to spend a night in Kiev, but she had been told by Ukrainian Airlines that there may be a chance of an alternative connection through Tel Aviv. "Hopefully they will arrange a hotel for us so we don't have another night in an airport," she added. 9:16AM Passengers diverted to Paris without visas left to 'fend for themselves' Joseph Ouechen, a photographer from Morocco, was due to fly into Gatwick on Wednesday night but had his flight diverted to Paris. After arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport at midnight, passengers with visas for the Schengen area were taken to a hotel but those without – "about 20 per cent" – were left in the airport to fend for themselves, he said. "There were families with babies who couldn't get to their suitcases for their milk and stuff," he said. "We were asking just for a favour if (airport staff) could help but they said they couldn't do anything." Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris Credit: Yoan Valat/EPA Firefighters eventually crossed the border through passport control with blankets and water at 3.30am, he said. "To be honest, I'm so tired and when the guys from the fire (service) came with the bottles and blankets I was feeling like a war, like (I was) a refugee, but I'm just flying to the UK. "It's surreal. I was flying to the UK and now there are firemen bringing me water and blankets." 9:13AM Up to 110,000 passengers could be affected if disruption continues all day A Gatwick spokesman said 110,000 passengers were due to either take off or land at the airport on 760 flights on Thursday. He was unable to state how many of these passengers had already been affected but the first wave of flights is normally the busiest time of the day. Around 10,000 passengers were affected on Wednesday night after the runway was closed at 9.03pm. Passengers are advised not to travel to the airport if their flight is cancelled. 9:05AM Son to miss his father's memorial service in Iraq Dozens of people were perched on seats with jackets and coats used as makeshift blankets after being stranded in the airport overnight. Mamosta Abdulla said he was on an Iraq-bound flight on Wednesday evening before getting stuck on the tarmac for four hours and will now miss his father's memorial service. He said: "We got here at 6pm and should have flown at 9.10pm, but we were stuck four hours on the plane with a crying baby, the child was disabled and everyone was sweating because it was so hot in there. "They gave us hope by showing us the safety procedure and then five minutes later they say nobody is flying. "We got given a £12 refreshment voucher each after a couple hours of waiting and that's it. "We've had to sleep in a freezing place, on uncomfortable chairs. "We are in Iraq with bombs going off nearby and the plane still lands! But here some drones have shut down the airport." 9:02AM Until the drone is taken out, there will be no flights Gatwick's chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe talks to the BBC:  "I have a drone on my airfield… and #Gatwick will not be able to reopen until that drone is brought down" – Gatwick's Chief Operating Officer Chris Woodroofe apologises to passengers and says flights to and from the airport remain suspended t.co/CotwzsvcTnpic.twitter.com/FDH2v91cvV— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 20, 2018   8:57AM Gatwick chaos in pictures Snaking queues through the airport Credit: PA/Thomas Hornall Departure boards showing diversions and delays of more than five hours Credit: Thomas Hornall/PA The scene on plane at Manchester, having been diverted from Gatwick Credit: Luke McComiskie/PA Stranded passengers at Gatwick Credit: Eddie Mitchell   8:49AM Picture of inactivity on the runway A picture of the runway on Thursday morning showed not a single plane was in the air, with every aircraft grounded at Gatwick.  The airport said there were 20 police units and a helicopter out looking for the culprit, but this passenger was skeptical: My view of the runway can’t see any helicopters or 20 units pic.twitter.com/KBjwBRdUPQ— Paul Merrett (@paulm239788) December 20, 2018   8:45AM Stranded passengers in Edinburgh offered free rail replacement Has your flight between London #GatwickAirport and Edinburgh been cancelled today? If so, you can use your flight tickets to travel on our trains today for FREE. #HomeforChristmas �� t.co/iEB3oRh2Nv— London North Eastern Railway (@LNER) December 20, 2018   8:43AM Drones were spotted by members of staff at Gatwick Gatwick's Airport's chief operating officer said a drone near the airfield is still causing disruption. Chris Woodroofe told Sky News: "I'd like to apologise to all of the passengers who have been disrupted by this irresponsible act. "Last night, at nine o'clock in the evening, a drone was spotted by two different members of my staff, and as a result we had to close the runway for movements. Airport security at Gatwick Credit: Eddie Mitchell "Since then, the drone has appeared and disappeared, appeared and disappeared, through until two o'clock in the morning. At three o'clock we reopened the airport, thinking it had gone, but it came back again at 3.45. "We closed the runway again at 3.45 and it remains closed now. "As I stand here, there is a drone on my airfield as we speak." 8:27AM EasyJet tell passengers not to travel to airports EasyJet is advising passengers not to travel to airports if their flight has been cancelled. A spokeswoman for the airline said: "Like other airlines, easyJet diverted a number of flights due to land at London Gatwick to other airports across the UK. "As a result of this, aircraft and crew remain out of position at airports away from London Gatwick, which has resulted in a number of cancellations this morning. Due to the LGW closure overnight, we expect there to be some disruption to flights this morning. We advise customers to check flight tracker before travelling t.co/wJaEeGPHSw We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.— easyJet (@easyJet) December 20, 2018 "We advise all customers flying to and from London Gatwick today to not travel to the airport if they are on flights which have been cancelled. "EasyJet has offered affected passengers who were diverted last night ground transportation to reach London Gatwick and hotel accommodation was provided for those who required it. "Passengers who arranged their own transportation will be reimbursed by easyJet. Customers on cancelled flights will be entitled to a free of charge transfer to an alternative flight."   8:23AM Drones are not toys and could have 'catastrophic consequences' Dr Rob Hunter, head of flight safety at the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA), said: "The public needs to understand that drones are not just toys and could have catastrophic consequences if they collide with an aircraft. "We know a lot of drones will be under people's Christmas trees and we implore them to ensure they're aware of the rules and fly their drones in a safe and sensible manner." He went on: "These drone sightings at Gatwick are further evidence that tougher laws and enforcement are required to keep drones clear of manned flights. "That's why we need the registration and education process in force sooner rather than later, so people flouting the law can be caught and prosecuted. "At the same time, BALPA is also calling for the Government to consider toughening the law to create a larger no-fly zone around airports. "We need to ensure people flying drones take responsibility for their actions and do so responsibly with the knowledge that if they endanger an aircraft they could face jail." 8:21AM Aviation minister Baroness Sugg says act is 'incredibly irresponsible' Aviation minister Baroness Sugg said: "These drones have been flown illegally and the operators, who have acted incredibly irresponsibly, could face up to five years in jail. "We are in close contact with Gatwick Airport as they work with police to safely resolve the situation as quickly as possible." 8:20AM Passenger forced to fork out up to £850 for Cardiff-London taxi  Mary Isokariari's flight to Gatwick was diverted to Cardiff, which left her facing an £850 fare: #Gatwickairport closure: It's 11.30pm and my plane has now landed in Cardiff after being diverted due to two drones flying over the Gatwick Airport airfield. We have no idea how we are getting back to Gatwick airport ��. It's going to be a long night.— Someth1ngaboutmary (@MaryIsokariari) December 19, 2018 #Gatwickairport closure update: A passenger is handing out oranges while cabin crew serve water (alcohol please) while we wait for more news. The mood is calm considering it's now 11.52pm at night and there are kids on board.— Someth1ngaboutmary (@MaryIsokariari) December 19, 2018 #GatwickAirport: The situation has just got worse! Gatwick airport is remaining closed and we've now been told to disembark the flight once they get ground clearance and make our own travel and accommodation plans. I can't believe this is happening!— Someth1ngaboutmary (@MaryIsokariari) December 20, 2018 #GatwickAirport: £120 for a one way ticket from Cardiff to London, I'm livid!— Someth1ngaboutmary (@MaryIsokariari) December 20, 2018 #GatwickAirport update: There is only one bus to take us from the aircraft to the terminal so the fire brigade is on its way to help. You couldn't make this up!— Someth1ngaboutmary (@MaryIsokariari) December 20, 2018 Thanks @Uber for taking advantage of the #gatwickairport closure. There are families stranded with babies and young children and many others who cannot afford your ridiculous 3.2% subcharge! (1)— Someth1ngaboutmary (@MaryIsokariari) December 20, 2018 At 1.37am, @Uber quoted £284-£379 from Cardiff to #gatwickairport and then at 2.35am, the price jumped to £638-£849. It's raining heavily in Cardiff, we are all exhausted, hungry and frustrated. After hours of travelling and being stuck on the plane, we just want to get home!!— Someth1ngaboutmary (@MaryIsokariari) December 20, 2018   8:00AM Civil Aviation Authority blasts 'totally unacceptable' drone flying (2/2) The rules for flying drones are designed to keep all airspace users safe. The CAA's Dronecode provides advice on how to fly your drone safely and follow the rules. you can see it at: t.co/avAtyxPdQZ.#Gatwick#Gatwick_Airport— UK Civil Aviation Authority (@UK_CAA) December 20, 2018   7:59AM Christmas travellers' delays and cancellations Lyndsey Clarke, from Southend on Sea, said she was stuck on a plane for more than four hours after it was re-routed to Stansted. The 27-year-old said passengers were then having to get taxis back to Gatwick after they were finally allowed off the aircraft. Luke McComiskie's plane ended up in Manchester, and he described chaotic scenes as people tried to find their way home after more than three hours stuck onboard. Passenger John Belo wrote on Twitter: “Plane should have departed an hour ago from Gatwick Airport – captain confirmed there are reports of a drone in the area… still waiting.” Landed at Stansted when we should be at @Gatwick_Airport due to a supposed drone sighting – car is at Gatwick, fantastic ! #gatwickairport— Honor Ireland (@honorireland) December 19, 2018 A a number of airlines, including British Airways, confirmed their flights had been affected. “Gatwick have stopped all arrivals and departures due to a drone, we’ve been told. Something that is not within our control,” British Airways tweeted on Wednesday evening. 7:42AM Gatwick statement in full The airport has been keeping its customers updated via social media.  In the early hours of Thursday morning, it tweeted:  pic.twitter.com/eK90YHzvmj— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport) December 20, 2018   7:36AM Pilots in limbo over Gatwick chaos A Flightradar map showing the flights heading to Gatwick Credit: Flightradar 7:32AM Drones spotted as late as 7am Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick's chief operating officer, said that drones had been spotted over the airport as late as 7am on Thursday. He blasted the "irresponsible" act, telling BBC Radio 4's Today that 10,000 people had been affected by the closure, including 2,000 whose flights had been unable to take off. He said there were two drones which had been seen flying "over the perimeter fence and into where the runway operates from". Mr Woodroofe said: "They disappeared and reappeared over the night period from 9pm until 3am, at which point we reopened the runway. "That lasted 45 minutes before the drones reappeared again and we are currently closed and it is our intention to review the situation when we have daylight at 8am." 7:32AM What is the law around flying drones? Flights were suspended at Gatwick Airport following reports of drones flying close to the airfield. Here we look at the law surrounding drones. What are the restrictions around flying drones near airports? Earlier this year, new laws came into force which ban all drones from flying above 400ft and within 1km of airport boundaries. Drone users who flout the height and airport boundary restrictions could face an unlimited fine, up to five years in prison, or both. Research funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) found that a drone weighing 400g could smash a helicopter windscreen, and one weighing 2kg could critically damage an airliner's windscreen. Are there any other laws to bear in mind? Laws introduced to the Commons in May mean people flying drones which weigh 250g or more will have to register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Drone pilots will be required to take an online safety test under the new legislation, with the requirements set to come into force in November next year. In July, the DfT said it was considering introducing an age restriction, banning children from owning drones weighing at least 250g. It also said it was considering giving police the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to £300 for misuse and the ability to seize drones being used irresponsibly. Have there been any incidents at airports in the past? According to the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), there were already 117 near misses between manned aircraft and drones up until November this year, compared to 93 for the whole of 2017. This is not the first time an incident involving drones has been reported at London Gatwick. In October, it was reported that a drone "put 130 lives at risk" after nearly hitting an aircraft approaching the airport over the summer. According to the UK Airprox Board, the flying gadget passed directly over the right wing of the Airbus A319 as it was preparing to land at the West Sussex airport in July. Also in October, a drone collided with a commercial aircraft as it was approaching to land in Canada. There were six passengers and two crew on the aircraft and the drone connected with its wing, but fortunately it suffered only minor damage, allowing it to land safely at Jean Lesage International Airport in Quebec City. How can people stay safe flying drones? Balpa has urged people be aware of the rules before they take their drone out and about. Dr Rob Hunter, head of flight safety, said: "Even two kilograms of metal and plastic, including the battery, hitting an aircraft windscreen or engine or a helicopter tail rotor, could be catastrophic. "People who buy these devices need to make sure that they know the rules and stick to them, so they don't put anyone's life in danger. "Pilots don't want to ruin anyone's fun but if you are going to use drones the message is clear: Know the laws or expect serious consequences. "Before taking to the air have a really good think about where you are, keep your drone in sight, consider what aircraft might be flying about and keep clear – it is your responsibility."



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In darkness and chaos, deputy killed by friendly fire

In darkness and chaos, deputy killed by friendly fireTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — As terrified people scrambled out of broken windows, screaming and bleeding and fleeing a mass shooting inside a California bar, Sgt. Ron Helus and a highway patrolman decided to try to stop the gunman, running in together with assault-style rifles to what turned out to be an ambush.



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