By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA A Canadian airliner with 54 passengers on board had to swerve to avoid an unmanned flying object near Toronto early on Monday, slightly injuring two cabin crew, in the most serious case of its kind in Canada, officials said.The Porter Airlines Bombardier Q400 twin-prop plane, which took off from Ottawa, was at 9,000 feet (2,750 meters), descending into the city's Billy Bishop waterfront airport, when the pilots saw an unmanned aerial vehicle."Two crew members performed an evasive manoeuvre to avoid the unidentified object," said Genevieve Corbin, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). Corbin said the object was most likely a drone.Two cabin crew suffered slight injuries during the incident, Porter said.
"The pilots' initial assessment was that it looked like a balloon. After debriefing, there is potential that the object was a drone," said Porter Airlines spokesman Brad Cicero.The plane landed at about 7:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT). The TSB has now launched an investigation, the first time it has done so for such an incident, said Corbin.
In June, Canada's federal transport ministry launched a campaign intended to deter people from flying drones near airports or aircraft.There have been a rash of near misses between planes and unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States in recent years.
In April, police in Britain said a British Airways passenger aircraft collided with what was most likely a drone as it prepared to land at London's Heathrow Airport. The aircraft landed safely and no injuries were reported in the incident. (Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Alan Crosby)
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