WASHINGTON (AP) — A business jet that flew over the nation’s capital Sunday afternoon prompted the military to detain a fighter jet before the plane crashed in Virginia, authorities said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A business jet that flew over the nation’s capital Sunday afternoon prompted the military to detain a fighter jet before the plane crashed in Virginia, authorities said. The fighter jet caused a loud sonic boom that was heard throughout the capital region.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the Cessna Citation took off from Elizabethtown, Tennessee, on Sunday and was headed for Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. Inexplicably, the plane circled over Long Island in New York and flew straight over DC before crashing into mountainous terrain near Montebello, Virginia at around 3:30 p.m.
It was not immediately clear why the plane was unresponsive, why it crashed or how many people were on board.
A US official confirmed to The Associated Press that the military plane had rushed to respond to the small plane, which later crashed. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the military operation and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Flight tracking sites showed the plane suffered a rapid spiral descent, plummeting at one point at a speed of more than 30,000 feet per minute before crashing in the St. Mary’s Wilderness.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command later said in a statement that the F-16 was cleared to travel at supersonic speeds, triggering a sonic boom.
“During this event, the NORAD aircraft also used flares, which may have been visible to the public, in an attempt to get the pilot’s attention,” the statement said. “The flares are employed with the utmost consideration for the safety of the intercepted aircraft and those on the ground. The flares burn quickly and completely and there is no danger to people on the ground when they are fired.”
Virginia State Police said officers were notified of the possible crash shortly before 4 p.m. Police were still working to find the plane Sunday night but had been unable to locate the crash site, the spokeswoman said. police officer Corinne Geller.
The plane that crashed was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc. A woman identifying herself as Barbara Rumpel, who is listed as the company’s president in Melbourne, Florida, said she had no comment Sunday when a reporter for The Associated contacted her. Press.
President Joe Biden was playing golf at Joint Base Andrews when the fighter jet took off. Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the US Secret Service, said the incident had no impact on the president’s movements on Sunday. Biden was playing golf at the Maryland military base with his brother in the afternoon.
A White House official said: “The president was briefed on the incident. The resulting sound from the authorized DOD aircraft was weak at JBA.”
The Pentagon and the DC Air National Guard did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
Associated Press writers Chris Megerian in Washington and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Michael Balsamo and Ashley Thomas, Associated Press