Washington, June 4 (EFE).- The United States air force scrambled F-16 fighter jets to intercept a Cessna before it crashed outside Washington DC on Sunday with an unresponsive pilot.
“In coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) F-16 fighter aircraft responded to an unresponsive Cessna 560 Citation V aircraft over Washington DC, and northern Virginia,” Norad said in a statement.
Norad said that the F-16s flew “at supersonic speeds,” explaining why residents may have heard a sonic boom.
The Cessna was intercepted around 3.20 pm local time (19:20 GMT) and the F-16s used flares to unsuccessfully get the pilot’s attention.
“The pilot was unresponsive and the Cessna subsequently crashed near the George Washington National Forest in Virginia. Norad attempted to establish contact the pilot until the aircraft crashed,” it said.
A White House official said in a statement that President Joe Biden, who was playing golf on Sunday with his brother at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on the outskirts of the capital, was informed about the incident and added that the sonic boom was faintly heard in the area.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed in a statement that the Cessna aircraft crashed around 3.30 pm into “mountainous terrain” near Montebello, Virginia.
“The aircraft took off from Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, (Tennessee) and was bound for [Long Island MacArthur Airport] in New York,” it said, adding that it is investigating the incident.
The Department of Security of the city of Washington, where both the residence of the president and the headquarters of the country’s congress and other institutions are located, told its residents shortly after alarms went off due to the noise heard in the capital that there was no active threat.
The Annapolis (Maryland) emergency management office said on its Twitter account that the “loud boom that was heard across the DMV area was caused by an authorized DOD flight. This flight caused a sonic boom.” EFE