The Gatwick drone story is already one of the strangest stories of 2018. In case you somehow missed it, here’s a quick recap.

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Around 1,000 flights were canceled to and from London’s Gatwick airport between December 19-21, just in time for Christmas, after multiple reports of drones hovering near the airport. Sixty-seven reports, in fact.

The reports were taken very seriously as we have a pretty good idea of what would happen if a drone ever hit a plane mid-air. The airport has even offered a £50,000 ($63,000) reward for information that leads to a conviction of those involved after a couple was arrested, named and shamed on the front pages of the national press, and then released without any charge whatsoever.

Now it appears the drone might have faded from existence like (SPOILER ALERT FOR AVENGERS INFINITY WAR) Spider-Man at the end of Avengers Infinity War or (SPOILER ALERT FOR BACK TO THE FUTURE) Marty McFly when it looks like his parents aren’t going to get together.

Now, one of the officers involved in the case has told BBC News there’s a possibility that the sightings were mistaken, and that there was no drone at all.

Despite the hundreds of thousands of people at Gatwick during those days, including officers and airline staff as well as passengers, no footage of the drone has been obtained by police, Sussex Police told BBC News.

“We are interviewing those who have reported these sightings, are carrying out extensive house-to-house inquiries, and carrying out a forensic examination of a damaged drone found near the perimeter of the airport,” Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley told BBC News.

However, he added that there is “always a possibility” that the drone reports were a mistake.

The casual revelation that the drone may not be real has all been a bit much for the UK to take in. Of course, it prompted fresh Gatwick drone jokes.


It also seems this new info was the final push the UK needed to go into full conspiracy mode. Several conspiracy theories are flying around (like, say, a drone at an airport) including tales of government cover-ups and theories that the government is “wargaming” what would happen if flights were grounded due to Brexit going through next year without an agreement with the EU being reached.

Around 140,000 people were affected by flight cancellations over the three days of drone sightings, which are still being investigated. When asked to clarify speculation that the drone may not have existed at all, Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley told The Independent: “Of course, that’s a possibility. We are working with human beings saying they have seen something.”

“[We need] more clarity around what they’ve said, the detail – the time, place, direction of travel, all those types of things – and that’s a big task.”

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