Pentagon launches investigation after witnesses aboard Air Force One claim near miss with drone

Pentagon launches investigation after drone reportedly flies near Air Force One

WASHINGTON — Passengers aboard Air Force One said that the president’s plane passed “remarkably close” to what appeared to be a drone just before landing at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland Sunday evening.

Agence France-Presse reporter Sebastian Smith, who had a window seat, tweeted Sunday evening that he believed that he saw a drone on the right side of the plane.

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President Trump and journalists were aboard Air Force One, which was a modified Boeing 757, for the trip from Bedminster, New Jersey to Washington when the object was spotted shortly before landing.

“We flew right over a small object, remarkably close to the president’s plane. Resembled a drone, though I’m no expert,” Sebastian Smith tweeted after landing Sunday.

The Air Force is now investigating the report and said “The 89th Airlift Wing is aware of the report. The matter is under review,” according to a statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal.

Witnesses said the object was shaped like a cross and was black and yellow.

Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs also tweeted about the incident, but it’s not clear if she was aboard the aircraft at the time of the incident.

Federal rules forbid operating a drone within 5 miles of most airports or above 400 feet without a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration. Despite efforts to prevent drones operating near airports, sightings are not uncommon for both pilots and control towers, sometimes shutting down some of the nation’s busiest airports.

The FAA is hoping to release new requirements to help reduce the risk to aircraft, according to Bloomberg.