On Sunday, a small plane flying over Washington, D.C. and prompting a chase by a fighter jet crashed in the mountains of southwestern Virginia, and officials said no survivors were found.
Virginia police received a call about the crash around 3:50 p.m. Sunday and after conducting a foot and air search, rescuers arrived at the crash site about four hours later, officials said. said in a statement. No survivors were found, they added.
Authorities said they would release the identities of the plane’s crew as soon as the information became available.
The crash occurred after F-16 fighter jets scrambled to pursue an unresponsive Cessna 560 Citation V aircraft that flew over Washington, DC and northern Virginia on Sunday afternoon. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that the plane had taken off from Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and was en route to Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York.
The North American Aerospace Defense Force (NORAD) said in a statement that fighter jets are permitted to fly at supersonic speeds, so residents may have heard the sonic boom. The statement also added that the NORAD aircraft used flares to attract the pilot’s attention, noting that the use of flares poses “no danger” to people on the ground.
“The pilot was unresponsive and then the Cessna crashed near George Washington National Forest, Virginia. NORAD attempted to establish contact with the pilot until the plane crashed,” the statement said.
The plane was owned by Encore Motors, a Melbourne company based in Florida. John Rumpel, who leads the company, said: new york times Among the passengers were the pilot, his daughter, a two-year-old granddaughter and a nanny.
“If we were going 20,000 feet an hour and crashing at that speed, nobody would have survived,” he said.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.
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