Plane crashes after fighter jet over DC, no survivors

Nabil Anas

Global Courant


A wayward and unresponsive corporate jet flying over the nation’s capital Sunday afternoon caused the military to scramble a fighter jet before the plane crashed in Virginia, officials said. The fighter jet caused a loud sonic boom that was heard all over the capital.

Hours later, police said rescuers had reached the scene of the plane crash in a rural part of the Shenandoah Valley and no survivors had been found.

- Advertisement -

The Federal Aviation Administration says the Cessna Citation departed from Elizabethtown, Tennessee, on Sunday and was bound for Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. Inexplicably, the plane flipped over New York’s Long Island and flew down a straight path over D.C. before crashing over mountainous terrain near Montebello, Virginia, around 3:30 p.m.

It was not immediately clear why the plane failed to respond, why it crashed or how many people were on board. The plane flew directly over the country’s capital, although it was technically flying over one of the country’s most restricted airspaces.

A US official confirmed to The Associated Press that the military plane rushed to respond to the small plane, which failed to respond to radio transmissions and later crashed. The official was not authorized to discuss details of the military operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Flight tracking sites showed the jet made a rapid spiral descent, descending at more than 30,000 feet per minute at one point before crashing into the St. Mary’s Wilderness.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command later said in a statement that the F-16 was authorized to travel at supersonic speeds, causing a sonic boom that was heard in Washington and parts of Virginia and Maryland.

- Advertisement -

“During this event, the NORAD aircraft also used flares — which may have been visible to the public — in an attempt to get the pilot’s attention,” the statement said. “Flares are used with the utmost respect for the safety of the intercepted aircraft and people on the ground. Flares burn out quickly and completely and there is no danger to people on the ground when issued.”

Virginia State Police said officers were notified of the possible crash shortly before 4 p.m. and rescuers reached the crash site on foot about four hours later. No survivors have been found, police said.

The crashed plane was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc, based in Florida. John Rumpel, who runs the company, told The New York Times that his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny and the pilot were aboard the plane. They returned to their home in East Hampton, on Long Island, after visiting his home in North Carolina, he said.

- Advertisement -

Rumpel, a pilot, told the paper he didn’t have much information from authorities, but hoped his family wouldn’t suffer and suggested the plane may have run out of pressure.

“I don’t think they’ve found the wreck yet,” Rumpel told the paper. “It was descending at 20,000 feet per minute, and no one could survive a crash of that speed.”

A woman who identified herself as Barbara Rumpel, listed as the company’s president, said she had no comment on Sunday when reached by The Associated Press.

The episode brought back memories of the 1999 crash of a Learjet that lost cabin pressure and flew aimlessly across the country with professional golfer Payne Stewart on board. The plane crashed into a South Dakota pasture, killing six people.

US President Joe Biden was playing golf at Joint Base Andrews around the time the jet took off. US Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the incident did not affect the president’s moves Sunday. Biden was playing golf with his brother at the Maryland military base in the afternoon.

A White House official said the president had been notified of the crash and that the sound of the plane scrambling was faint at Joint Base Andrews.


Associated Press writers Chris Megerian and Zeke Miller in Washington and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report

Plane crashes after fighter jet over DC, no survivors

America Region News ,Next Big Thing in Public Knowledg

Share This Article