Maldivians caught flying drone over Lanka airport released

Bandaranaike International Airport. (File Photo/Aviation Voice)

Four Maldivian arrested for flying a drone over a high-security area of the Bandaranaike International Airport of Sri Lanka on Saturday have been released from police custody.

The four arrestees were three men and one woman between the ages of 19 to 23 years.

All four are students at the Sri Lankan Aviation College, an aviation training institute run by SriLankan Airlines.

President of the Lion City Students Committee, Mohamed Sawwan has confirmed their release to ‘Sun’.

The four students share a residence 1 kilometer from the airport, from where two of the students had flown the drone. Police officers had followed the drone to the residence and arrested both the two students, and the two other students who share the accommodation.

They were taken to the Negombo Magistrate Court for their remand hearing last Sunday. The court had ordered the two students who flew the drone to detention and let the other two students go.

A second hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday.

‘Sun’ has been informed all four students have now been released from custody at special request of Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who is currently on a three-day state visit to Sri Lanka.

Flying drones within eight kilometers of any airport is strictly prohibited under Sri Lankan law.

The four students had been investigated for plotting a possible attack to coincide with Solih’s arrival to Sri Lanka.