The huge explosion heard in the Washington, D.C., area on Sunday afternoon was caused by a sonic blast created by F-16 jets scrambling to intercept a civil aircraft that had violated restricted airspace. The Cessna Citation was flying in a strange path, and the F-16 pilots could see that the civilian was unconscious.
The jets came from a New Jersey Air Force Base:
The Continental US North American Aerospace Defense Command, (NORAD), said that two F-16 jets from an Air National Guard Base near Atlantic City, New Jersey, and two DC National Guard jets at Andrews Air Force Base, responded to the Cessna in the area of Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia.
The jets had to fly supersonic in order to catch up to the plane. The sonic bang was caused by the two F-16 jets from Andrews.
The pilots of both aircraft attempted to contact each other, but were unable to do so. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not released any further information regarding the crash.
RedState’s Bonchie is a commercial airline pilot. He tweeted his observations.
The Washington Post interviewed the Cessna owner:
Flight Aware, a flight tracking website, reports that the Cessna is registered to Encore Motors in Melbourne, Florida.
John Rumpel, owner of Encore, told The Washington Post that his daughter and a granddaughter were also on board.
Rumpel was quoted by the Post as saying, “We don’t know anything about the crash.” He added, “We’re talking with the FAA right now,” before terminating the call.
Around the time of sonic blast, President Joe Biden played golf at Joint Base Andrews. The White House was put on alert, but not on “red alert,” as that would have caused an evacuation.
Fox reports that Capitol security officials briefly changed the alert level from “Green” (lowest) to “Yellow” (highest).
Fox reported that officials told them that the Capitol had been in a raised position for a brief time before they determined that the plane which entered restricted airspace did not pose a threat. Officials also told Fox that the Capitol was never at risk.