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The plane was flying at 3,800 ft above sea level towards Perth at the time of the incident, despite regulations requiring drones to fly below 400 feet.
A passenger plane has narrowly missed colliding with a drone, as authorities note a rise in ­incidents involving unmanned aircraft.

A Dash-8 chartered aircraft was preparing to land at Perth Airport when the crew spotted a bright strobe light in its path at about 3700ft. The pilot swerved and missed the object by about 20m, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau says in a report.

The March 19 incident was followed by another three days later when a Westpac rescue chopper carrying five crew took off from Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital. A white light was spotted coming from a drone hovering 1000ft above Hunter stadium, where a football match was under way.

The unmanned craft began to move directly toward the helicopter, with the pilot forced to take evasive action.

On both occasions the ATSB could not find the operators of the drones. "These people might just be having some fun ... but they are breaking the rules," investigations manager Neville McMartin said.

Unmanned aerial vehicles must operate below 400ft and at least 5km from any airport. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority said most complaints related to "first person view" aircraft, which have a fixed video and are controlled by someone on the ground watching a live feed.

The ATSB received its first ­report of an unmanned craft in October 2012, when operators lost control of an airship around Victoria's Moorabbin airport. "These reports are a sign of things to come," Mr McMartin said. There are a whole lot of issues we have to work through."

"You can buy these things online and have them delivered to your home," Mr McMartin said.

Source: Australian Associated Press