The passenger plane carrying 240 people almost reached a drone at 15,000 feet
- Airbus A321 had taken off and was going up to 380 mph when the gadget appeared
- The drone appeared at 15,500 feet, almost 40 times the legal maximum
- The incident occurred near the Doncaster Sheffield airport in South Yorkshire
Andrew Young for mail on Sunday
A drone that flew three miles high was less than 100 feet from a catastrophic collision with a plane carrying up to 240 passengers, a report reveals.
The incident occurred at the highest altitude recorded in an almost total failure between a drone and an aircraft in the airspace of the United Kingdom.
The Airbus A321 had just taken off and climbed to 380 mph when the device suddenly appeared at 15,500 feet, almost 40 times the legal maximum.
The Airbus A321 had just taken off and was climbing to 380 mph when the device suddenly appeared at 15,500 feet (stock image)
A report by the Airprox Board of the United Kingdom, which investigates almost flaws, said the pilot suddenly saw a drone crossing "very close" on the left side of the plane, endangering it and other aircraft.
The report concluded that the device, detected on June 3 near the Doncaster Sheffield airport in South Yorkshire, was so high that it would have been impossible for its operator to see it.
Drone operators can only fly below 400 feet and those who endanger the safety of an aircraft can be imprisoned for five years.
Almost all accidents with drones have tripled in the last two years, with 92 reported last year and only 29 in 2015.
A spokesman for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: "It is totally unacceptable to fly drones near airports or aircraft."