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Nationwide hunt for rogue drone restricts airspace for several days

06 May 2020

Latvian authorities hunt for a missing drone causing air traffic problems.

(Image: The State Agency for Civil Aviation (CAA)

The 26kg drone went missing on Saturday 2 May, after a local unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer lost sight of it during a test flight.

The large drone had enough fuel to remain in the air until 19:10 on Tuesday, 5 May.

According to officials, it was last seen flying above 200 metres, at about 43mph.

The uncontrolled drone wreaked havoc for four days – closing Latvian’s skies to flights below 6,000m.

“Despite lower air traffic across Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic, the errant UAV has caused some problems, closing airspace over Riga International Airport and forcing the redirection of a flight from China to Tallinn,” the BBC reports.

The public has been urged by Latvian authorities to contact the Aviation Search and Rescue Coordination Centre if they catch sight of it.

According to French news outlet 20 Minutes, the military also offered its assistance on Sunday, “using old Mi-17 helicopters and an Antonov An-2 biplane”, which were the only type of aircraft “able to locate the drone”, as its speed did not surpass 43mph.

Although it has now undoubtedly landed, as of Tuesday evening, the rogue had still not been found, evading both the public and the military alike.

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