Officials said a wayward and unresponsive business jet flying over the nation’s capital on Sunday afternoon prompted the military to shoot down a fighter jet before the plane crashed in Virginia. The fighter jet caused a loud sonic boom that was heard throughout the capital region.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Cessna Citation took off from Elizabethtown, Tennessee on Sunday and was en route to MacArthur Airport on Long Island. Inexplicably, the plane turned over over Long Island in New York and flew straight over DC before crashing over mountainous terrain near Montebello, Virginia at about 3:30 p.m
It wasn’t immediately clear why the plane wasn’t responding, why it crashed, or how many people were on board.
A US official confirmed to The Associated Press that the military jet attempted to respond to the small plane, which later went down. The official was not authorized to discuss details of the military operation publicly and spoke on condition that he remain anonymous.
The plane that crashed was registered with Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc. A woman who identified herself as Barbara Rumpel, who is listed as president of Encore Motors of Melbourne, said Sunday she had no comment when reached by an Associated Press reporter.
President Joe Biden was playing golf at Joint Base Andrews around the time the fighter jet took off. US Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the incident had no impact on the president’s movements on Sunday. Biden played golf with his brother at the Maryland military base in the afternoon.
The Pentagon, DC Air National Guard and North American Aerospace Defense Command did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.
Associated Press writer Chris Megerian in Washington contributed to this report.