fighters were watching him and he had turned his course to head straight for Washington.
U.S. federal authorities are investigating the crash of the private plane that crashed Sunday in southwestern Virginia, near Washington DC, the nation’s capital. Because of its proximity to the seats of the country’s three branches of government, F-16 aircraft took off to intercept the aircraft.but it eventually crashed. There were no survivors.
Where was the plane going?
The small jet, a Cessna 560 Citation V, had four people on board. It deviated from its destination by nearly 500 kilometers. before plunging to earth in a rural area of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley on Sunday afternoon.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft took off Sunday from Elizabethtown, Tennessee, and was headed for MacArthur Airport on Long Island, New York. Inexplicably, the plane turned around. and flew in a straight line over DC, one of the most restricted airspaces in the US. It finally crashed over mountainous terrain near Montebello at about 1530 hours.
Why did it veer off course?
Details of why the jet deviated so far from its route and what caused the accident. are still unclear. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived Monday at the scene, where they “will begin the process of documenting the scene and examining the aircraft.”
The stricken aircraft was traveling at 34,000 feet (about 10,300 meters) through restricted airspace, when it suffered a rapid spiral descent, descending at one point at a speed of 30,000 feet (9,000 meters) per minute before crashing in a mountainous area of southwestern Virginia.
Was it shot down by F-16s?
Federal authorities have launched an investigation to find out what happened and why the Cessna did not respond and entered restricted Washington DC airspace, prompting the launching of fighter planes.
The F-16s did not shoot down the small jet, a U.S. official has told the CNN. The latter noted that it is typical for the Federal Aviation Administration to recall aircraft if someone is flying unsafely.
Follow-up, a normal procedure
Six F-16s from three different units and bases participated in tracking the aircraft, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). All six took off at the same time. The two fighters from the 113th Wing, which took off from Joint Base Andrews, were the first to reach the Cessnaaccording to Defense officials citing ABC News. The pilots and the aircraft belonged to the Washington Air National Guard.
The other four F-16s that took off belonged to the 177th FW from Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the 169th FW from McIntyre, South Carolina, officials said.
Flares were thrown
“It’s standard procedure to have mobilized these aircraft,” said a NORAD spokesman. The Capitol complex was put on “high alert.” when the plane flew near the area, according to a Capitol Police statement.
When the F-16s caught up with the Cessna, the jet pilots launched flares to get the pilot’s attention.. “The pilot was unresponsive and the Cessna crashed near the George Washington National Forest…. NORAD attempted to establish contact with the pilot until the aircraft crashed,” its spokesman said.
According to the Aerospace Defense Command statement, U.S. F-16 fighters “were authorized to travel at supersonic speeds” as they raced to make contact with the jet. The extraordinary speed of the jets caused a sonic boom throughout the Washington DC area. Some residents reported having startled by the sudden, thunderous sound. which was also heard in parts of Virginia and Maryland.
Who was traveling in the small plane?
The Cessna 560 Citation V was owned by Encore Motors, a Florida-based company, as reported Sunday by The New York Times. When journalists contacted the Encore’s owner, 75-year-old John Rumpel.Rumpel identified four people who were on the crashed plane: his daughter, a granddaughter, a nanny and a pilot.
Rumpel is a pilot and is known for being a prominent donor to conservative political causes. and Trump’s in particular. He suggested that the plane may have lost pressurization. “I don’t think they’ve found the wreckage yet … no one could survive a crash at that speed,” he told the Times.