WASHINGTON: US F-16 fighter jets scrambled in supersonic pursuit of a light aircraft with an unresponsive pilot that violated airspace in the Washington, D.C. area and later crashed into the mountains Virginiaofficials said.
the Jet fighters It triggers a sonic boom over the US capital in an attempt to hunt down the lost cessna The martyrdom, officials said, sparked panic among people in the Washington area.
A source familiar with the matter said that four people were on board the Cessna. The Cessna Citation can carry seven to 12 passengers.
The Cessna is registered to Encore Motors in Melbourne, Florida, according to flight-tracking website Flight Aware.
Encore owner John Rampell told The Washington Post that his daughter, grandson, and nanny were on board.
“We don’t know anything about the accident,” Rompel was quoted as saying. “We’re talking to the FAA now,” he added, before hanging up.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement that the US military attempted to contact the pilot, who did not respond until the Cessna subsequently crashed near George Washington National Forest in Virginia.
Another source familiar with the matter said the Cessna appeared to be flying on autopilot.
“The NORAD aircraft was allowed to travel at supersonic speed and residents of the area may have heard a sonic boom,” the statement said, adding that the NORAD aircraft also used flares in an attempt to attract the pilot’s attention.
A US official said jet fighters did not cause the crash.
The Cessna took off from Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and was bound for New York’s Long Island MacArthur Airport, about 50 miles (80 km) east of Manhattan, the FAA said in a statement, adding that it and the national transportation agency. The safety board will investigate.
According to Flight Aware, the airplane It appears to have reached the New York area and rotated about 180 degrees, with the trip ending in Virginia.
Virginia State Police said they were searching for the wreckage, but had not yet found it.
Although rare, accidents involving unresponsive pilots are not unprecedented. Golfer Payne Stewart died in 1999 along with four others after the plane he was in traveled thousands of miles with no response from the pilot and passengers. The plane eventually crashed in South Dakota with no survivors.
In the case of Stewart’s flight, the plane lost pressure, causing the passengers to pass out from a lack of oxygen.
Similarly, a small US private jet with an unresponsive pilot on board crashed off the east coast of Jamaica in 2014 after veering too far off course toward southwest Florida, prompting a US security alert that prompted a fighter jet escort.
On Sunday, the sonic blast shook several people in the Washington area who took to Twitter to report hearing a loud noise that shook the floor and walls. Several residents said they heard the noise as far away as Northern Virginia and Maryland.


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