Fighter jets pursue unresponsive plane over D.C. before crashing in Virginia
The U.S. fighter jets caused a sonic boom, causing a slight panic among residents who did not know what had caused the sound
June 5, 2023 8:59am
Updated: June 5, 2023 3:27pm
U.S. fighter jets attempted to intercept an unresponsive small airplane that flew over a prohibited airspace in Washington, D.C. at around 3:20 p.m. and then eventually crashed in southwest Virginia, officials said on Sunday.
The U.S. military attempted to establish contact with the pilot of the plane. However, there was no response, according to a statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad). The jets used flares in an attempt to draw attention to the pilot, without any success.
“Flares are employed with the highest regard for the safety of the intercepted aircraft and people on the ground. Flares burn out quickly and completely and there is no danger to the people on the ground when dispensed.”
The Cessna Citation eventually crashed into a mountainous area near the George Washington National Forest, leaving no survivors behind, according to Virginia police.
The airplane was registered to a Florida company, Encore Motors of Melbourne, run by John Rumpel, the New York Times reported. The plane was flying from Elizabethton, Tennessee to East Hampton, on Long Island. There were four individuals on board the plane, including Rumple's daughter, two-year-old granddaughter, a nanny, and the pilot.
According to the flight-tracking website Flight Aware, the airplane reached the New York area before making a 180-degree turn and flying straight to Washington D.C.
In addition to the chase, the U.S. fighter jets caused a sonic boom, causing a slight panic among residents who did not know what had caused the sound. Many took to social media to report the loud noise that shook the grounds and walls of their homes.
“The Norad aircraft were authorized to travel at supersonic speeds and a sonic boom may have been heard by residents of the region,” Norad’s statement said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said they would investigate the accident.