Residents of the Washington D.C. metroplex area and surrounding areas were met with a loud explosion on Sunday afternoon. It turns out that the sound was the sonic boom of two military aircraft in pursuit of a Cessna plane with an unresponsive pilot.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) authorized two F-16 jets out of Joint Base Andrews to fly at supersonic speeds to catch up with the plane. The Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) continued to try and establish contact with the pilot until the aircraft crashed near the George Washington National Forest in Virginia.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the Cessna Citation took off from Elizabethton, Tennessee, bound for Islip, New York, and crashed in the sparsely populated town of Montebello, Virginia, around 3 p.m.
The Cessna was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc. and was carrying four passengers, including John Rumpel’s daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny, and the pilot, who were returning to their home in East Hampton, New York, after visiting Rumpel in North Carolina.
When the aircraft pierced the no-fly zone in the Capitol region, the U.S. Capitol went into “AirCon,” and security officials at the Capitol briefly flipped the alert posture from “Green” to “Yellow.” The White House official said President Biden was briefed on the incident.
The sonic boom was heard in the Washington, D.C. metroplex area and as far east as the Eastern Shore of Maryland and as far west as Manassas, Virginia, leading to rumors circulating on social media.