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Drone hits British Airways flight near Heathrow

LONDON -- A British Airways flight Sunday appears to have collided with a drone on a flight bound for London's busy Heathrow Airport in what may be the first such incident involving a major airline.

The flight from Geneva, Switzerland to Heathrow, Europe's busiest hub, is believed to have struck a drone, the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The plane landed safely following the incident, which occurred around 12:50 p.m. local time.

The incident comes at a time of rising concern about drone misuse near commercial airlines.

British Airways said its engineers inspected the Airbus Group SE A320 airliner, found no damage, and cleared the plane to continue operating.

None of the 132 passengers and 5 crew on board the British Airways plane were hurt, an airline spokesman said.

Flight safety authorities have become increasingly anxious that the use of drones is becoming a hazard for aviation. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration last month said "reports of unmanned aircraft have increased dramatically since 2014." The agency recorded more than 1,400 reports last year of drones coming close to planes.

Pilots flying into busy hubs such as New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and La Guardia have reported drone sightings near the airfields. In 2014, the FAA said a remotely controlled aircraft came so close to a 50-seat regional jet the pilot reported to air-traffic control "he was sure...