• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

4 dead in US plane crash that prompts fighter jets to take off

4 dead in US plane crash that prompts fighter jets to take off

F-16s followed the plane at high speed earlier — causing a sonic boom across Washington.


A small plane carrying four people did not survive a Virginia crash, U.S. officials said, a day after an unresponsive plane prompted fighter jets to chase it away from Washington.

The Cessna Citation crashed Sunday afternoon in mountainous terrain about 170 miles (275 kilometers) southwest of the capital, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which investigated the incident.

F-16s followed the plane at high speed earlier — sending a sonic boom across Washington and its suburbs, startling residents and knocking out windows and walls for miles.

Virginia State Police said in a statement to AFP that first responders arrived on foot near the town of Staunton about four hours after the crash.

“No survivors have been located,” state police said, suspending the search.

President Joe Biden, who was at the White House playing golf on Sunday, was briefed on the incident, an official said, without specifying whether any emergency precautions had been taken.

The civilian plane took off from Elizabethton, Tennessee, to New York’s Long Island MacArthur Airport, the FAA said. But flight tracking website FlightRadar24 indicates that after flying over Long Island, it turned around and headed south through Washington to Virginia.

There were four people on board, the FAA said in a statement. “The FAA and NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) will investigate,” and a preliminary accident report is expected later Monday, it added.

U.S. authorities have not yet officially identified those on board, but comments from two relatives of those believed to have been on board have provided some initial insight.

Public records show the plane was registered to Encore Motors, based in Melbourne, Florida, and owner John Rumpel told The Washington Post that “the whole family” was on board, including his daughter, granddaughter and her nanny.

In response to messages of condolence on her Facebook page, Rumpel’s wife, John Rumpel, wrote on the platform Sunday night: “My family is gone, my daughter and granddaughter.”

The North American Aerospace Defense Command said F-16 fighter jets “responded to an unresponsive Cessna 560 Citation V aircraft over Washington, DC and northern Virginia.”

Attempts to contact the pilot until the plane crashed were unsuccessful, the command said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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