Updated 8:23 p.m. | A rogue plane flying in restricted airspace caused a brief evacuation of the Capitol on Saturday afternoon, Capitol Police reported. The plane was intercepted by two F-16s under the direction of NORAD.
“Apparently a smaller aircraft entered our restricted airspace & was not communicating,” Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus said in an email.
“Communication was regain evacuation was ordered, we went to AIRCON RED. Now understand that the pilot is in communication & has exited our airspace. We are back to AIRCON GREEN,normal operations and preparing for re-entry campus wide,” he added.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) reported that it intercepted the Mooney M20C aircraft, which had departed from Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Westfield, Mass., and had flown into restricted airspace over Washington, D.C., and was out of contact with air traffic controllers.
The aircraft was escorted out of the restricted area and landed at a Mt. Airy, N.C., airport where it was met by law enforcement officials, NORAD said in a press release.
The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms staff announced police activity on Twitter that some streets around were closed due to police activity at 1:17 p.m. Streets were reopened around 2:30 p.m.
You can see a YouTube video below of a Mooney M20C:
Campus Reporter Bridget Bowman (@bridgetbhc) keeps her eye what's happening on and around the Hill. She covers local elections, the Capitol Hill community, House and Senate administration, legislative agencies and congressional oversight over the District of Columbia.
Leadership Reporter Hannah Hess (@ha_nah_nah) covers law enforcement and ethics investigations, acting as a watchdog of both chambers of Congress. Her beat includes Capitol Police and the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms.