Military fighter planes pursuing unresponsive Cessna Citation break sound barrier
A loud explosion sound heard in the Washington, D.C., metroplex area, areas as far east as the Eastern Shore of Maryland and as far west as Manassas, Virginia, was the sonic boom of two military aircraft scrambling to catch up to a Cessna aircraft with an unresponsive pilot
The city of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management reported that the boom heard on Sunday was in fact caused by an authorized Department of Defense (DOD) flight.
Bowie, Maryland, officials confirmed that the sonic boom heard was from a plane out of Joint Base Andrews.
The Continental US North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said two F-16 jets out of an Air National Guard base near Atlantic City, New Jersey and two out of the DC National Guard at Andrews Air Force Base responded to the Cessna over Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia.
In order to catch up with the plane, the jets were authorized to fly at supersonic speeds, and the sonic boom came from the two F-16 jets out of Andrews.
The civilian plane was intercepted at 3:20 p.m. and fighter pilots reported the pilot of the Cessna was unresponsive.
NORAD also said they continued to try and establish contact with the Cessna pilot up until the plane crashed near the George Washington National Forest in Virginia. NORAD also said people on the ground may have seen flares used while trying to intercept the plane. The flares, NORAD said, burn out quickly and completely, so there was no danger to the people on the ground.
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Another Twitter user posted, “Did you feel what felt like an explosion! I’m thinking #sonicboom, but from what? I’m just South of Bowie. If you felt it, tell me where you did. Thank you.”
A user on the Eastern Shore in Queen Anne’s County, just across Chesapeake Bay from Annapolis, reported the explosion.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Cessna Citation that took off from Elizabethton, Tennessee, bound for Islip, New York, crashed in the sparsely populated town of Montebello, Virginia, around 3 p.m. There were four people on board.The Associated Press reported that the Cessna was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc. John Rumpel, who runs the company, told The New York Times his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny and the pilot were on the plane.
Congressional sources told Fox News the U.S. Capitol when into “AirCon” on Sunday as officials tracked the aircraft when it pierced the no-fly zone in the Capitol region.
Fox is told that security officials at the Capitol briefly flipped the alert posture from “Green” to “Yellow.” Blue” and “Red” are higher levels of alert, and when the latter is issued, the Capitol is evacuated.
Officials told Fox that the Capitol was at an elevated posture for a short time before determining the plane that entered restricted airspace was not a threat. In fact, officials also told Fox the Capitol was never in any danger.