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Business News/ News / World/  Four killed as unresponsive plane crashes in US, military jet trigger sonic boom during chase
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Four killed as unresponsive plane crashes in US, military jet trigger sonic boom during chase

An unresponsive business plane prompted the US military to scramble a fighter jet on Sunday, triggering a sonic boom across Washington. The wayward aircraft eventually crashed in Virginia, killing all four occupants.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon heads out to the Nellis ranges from the 20th Fighter Wing of Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina | Representational image (AFP)Premium
An F-16 Fighting Falcon heads out to the Nellis ranges from the 20th Fighter Wing of Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina | Representational image (AFP)

A business plane flew over Washington on Sunday afternoon - prompting the US military to scramble a fighter jet - before crashing in Virginia. F-16s had chased the aircraft at high speed and triggered a sonic boom across the nation's capital, startling residents and rattling windows and walls for miles. Four people were killed in the incident and US officials have confirmed that there were no survivors.

The unresponsive business plane had taken off from Elizabethton in Tennessee on Sunday and was headed for Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. Inexplicably, the Cessna Citation turned around over New York’s Long Island and flew in a straight path over Washington DC - flying above some of the most heavily restricted airspace in the nation. It would eventually go on to crash over mountainous terrain near Montebello.

Police rescuers reached the site of the crash on Sunday evening and later confirmed that all four occupants had died in the accident. 

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Flight tracking sites showed the jet suffered a rapid spiraling descent, dropping at one point at a rate of more than 30,000 feet per minute before crashing in the St. Mary’s Wilderness. It was not immediately clear why the plane was nonresponsive or why it crashed. 

Officials said that the wayward aircraft had prompted the military to scramble a fighter jet before the plane crash. The North American Aerospace Defense Command later said in a statement that the F-16 was authorized to travel at supersonic speeds, which caused a sonic boom that was heard in Washington and parts of Virginia and Maryland.

“During this event, the NORAD aircraft also used flares – which may have been visible to the public – in an attempt to draw attention from the pilot. Flares are employed with highest regard for safety of the intercepted aircraft and people on the ground. Flares burn out quickly and completely and there is no danger to the people on the ground when dispensed," a statement said. 

The plane was registered to Florida-based Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc. Company head John Rumpel told The New York Times that his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny and the pilot were aboard the plane. They were returning to their home in East Hampton on Long Island, after visiting his house in North Carolina.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 05 Jun 2023, 08:19 PM IST
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