Washington — Officials said the military scrambled fighter jets before the plane crashed in Virginia on Sunday afternoon after a selfish and unresponsive business plane flew over the capital. The fighter caused a huge sonic boom throughout the metropolitan area.
Hours later, police said rescuers had arrived at the plane crash site in the Shenandoah Valley countryside, but found no survivors.
The Cessna Citation took off from Elizabethtown, Tennessee on Sunday and was heading to MacArthur Airport on Long Island, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Inexplicably, the plane turned over Long Island, New York, flew straight over Washington, DC, and then crashed in the mountains near Montebello, Virginia at about 3:30 p.m.
It is not immediately clear why the plane became unresponsive or why it crashed. The plane flew directly over the capital, technically the most heavily restricted airspace in the country.
A U.S. official confirmed to the Associated Press that a military plane scrambled to respond to a small plane that did not respond to radio transmissions and then crashed. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to publicly discuss details of the military operation.
According to flight tracking sites, the plane descended in a rapid spiral, at one point descending at more than 30,000 feet per minute, before crashing into St. Mary’s Wilderness.
The North American Aerospace Defense Force later said in a statement that the F-16 was authorized to fly at supersonic speeds, which is why sonic booms were heard over Washington and parts of Virginia and Maryland.
“During the event, the NORAD aircraft also used flares to try to attract the pilot’s attention and may have been visible to the public,” the statement said. “Flares are used with the utmost consideration for the safety of intercepted aircraft and people on the ground. Flares burn up quickly and completely and pose no danger to people on the ground when launched.”
Officers were alerted to the possible crash shortly before 4 p.m., and rescue workers arrived at the crash site on foot about four hours later, Virginia police said. Police said no survivors were found.
The plane that crashed was registered with Florida-based Melbourne company Encore Motors. Company owner John Rumpel told The New York Times that his daughter, two-year-old granddaughter, nanny and the pilot were on board. The pair were reportedly returning to their home in East Hampton, Long Island, after visiting his home in North Carolina.
Pilot Rumpel told the newspaper that he had not received much information from authorities, but that he hoped his family would not suffer and that the plane may have lost pressurization.
“I don’t think they have found any wreckage yet,” Rumpel told the newspaper. “We were going down at 20,000 feet a minute and if we crashed at that speed no one would survive.”
A woman who identified herself as Barbara Rumpel, who is listed as the company’s president, told The Associated Press on Sunday she had no comment.
This episode brought back memories of the 1999 Learjet plane crash. The Learjet lost its cabin pressure and flew aimlessly across the United States with professional golfer Payne Stewart on board. A jet plane crashed into a meadow in South Dakota, killing six people.
President Joe Biden was playing golf at Joint Base Andrews when the planes took off. Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the US Secret Intelligence Service, said Sunday’s incident had not affected the president’s course of action. Biden spent the afternoon playing golf with his brother at a Maryland National Guard base.
A White House official said the president was briefed about the crash and that faint scrambles of the aircraft could be heard at Joint Base Andrews.
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https://abc7ny.com/long-island-plane-crash-virginia-macarthur-airport-islip-montebello/13346487/ Crashed Long Island-bound plane with millionaire’s daughter and granddaughter causes terror in Washington, D.C.