In a dramatic Hollywood’s movie action style, fighter jets unleashed a sonic boom to intercept an unresponsive plane (Cessna Citation), leaving the US capital residents in the Washington area startled and concerned. According to officials, the wayward business plane flew over the nation’s capital on Sunday afternoon, prompting the military to scramble a fighter jet. The chase ended tragically when the Cessna crashed in Virginia.
The Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the Cessna Citation departed from Elizabethtown, Tennessee, with its destination set for Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. However, inexplicably, the aircraft abruptly turned around above New York’s Long Island and flew directly over Washington, D.C., before meeting its untimely demise in the mountainous terrain near Montebello, Virginia, around 3:30 pm.
The reasons behind the plane’s nonresponsiveness, the subsequent crash, and the number of people on board remain unclear at this time.
Sonic Boom as Fighter Jets Take off to intercept unresponsive plane in US Capital
An anonymous US official confirmed that a military jet was dispatched to intercept the small plane, which later crashed. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, was not authorized to disclose operational details.
Flight tracking sites displayed a rapid and spiraling descent of the fighter jet, plummeting at a rate exceeding 30,000 feet per minute before its fateful collision in the St. Mary’s Wilderness.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) released a statement acknowledging that the F-16 fighter jet had been permitted to travel at supersonic speeds, causing the sonic boom heard across the capital region. NORAD also mentioned the deployment of flares by the intercepting aircraft, aimed at capturing the attention of the Cessna’s pilot. These flares, designed to burn quickly and safely, posed no threat to individuals on the ground.
After being alerted to the potential unresponsive plane crash, Virginia State Police initiated search efforts but had yet to locate the crash site as of Sunday evening, according to police spokesperson Corinne Geller.
The crashed plane was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc. The company’s owner, John Rumpel, shared with The New York Times that his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, the nanny, and the pilot were onboard the ill-fated flight. They were returning to their East Hampton residence on Long Island after visiting Rumpel’s North Carolina home.
Barbara Rumpel, listed as the president of the company in Melbourne, Florida, declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press about the unresponsive plane incident.
Despite the commotion caused by the chase and subsequent crash, US President Joe Biden’s activities remained unaffected. At the time of the fighter jet’s takeoff, Biden was engaged in a game of golf at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, accompanied by his brother.