SUSPECTED drone sightings sparked chaos at Gatwick Airport this afternoon, with runways shut down and planes diverted.
All operations at the major air terminal stopped this afternoon as authorities hunted what was believed to be up to three drones after they were reportedly spotted in the area.
Twelve aircraft were diverted at the last minute as the search got underway at around 1.45pm this afternoon, before concluding at 2.35pm.
Airport bosses did not confirm if anything had been found, but announced that operations resumed around an hour after the suspected sighting.
All the diverted aircraft are expected to return to their original destinations.
It comes after Gatwick was shut down before Christmas 2018 after a pair of drones flew over the airfield, causing nearly 1,000 to be cancelled or diverted.
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Two people, who were suspected to be eco-warriors, were arrested over the incident but released without charge.
The stunt even forced the Army to use hi-tech "drone-killer equipment" that was previously employed in the fight against IS to down the devices.
Drones can do terrifying damage to commercial aircraft and even cause them to crash.
Sussex Police declined to comment on today's closure.
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A Gatwick spokesperson said: "Passenger safety is the airport’s absolute priority and – following established procedures – operations at London Gatwick were suspended temporarily while investigations into the sighting of a suspected drone close to the airfield took place.
"These investigations have now completed and the airfield reopened.
"Twelve inbound aircraft were diverted to other airports during the investigation, however we expect these will return to London Gatwick shortly."
British Airways said one of its flights was affected, with it landing at Stansted before refuelling and returning to Gatwick.
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