Investigation Underway into Plane Crash Following Sonic Boom Scare in Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. plane crash

Federal authorities are currently investigating the cause of a private aircraft flying into restricted airspace over Washington, D.C., which led to a response by military jets and a subsequent sonic boom heard across the region. Tragically, the small plane crashed in Virginia, claiming the lives of all four individuals on board.

The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the private business jet, identified as a Cessna 560 Citation V, went down near Montebello, Virginia. Emergency responders reached the crash site on foot several hours after receiving the initial report.

The owner of the aircraft, John Rumpel of Encore Motors, confirmed that his daughter, Adina Azarian, his 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny, and the pilot did not survive the crash. The impact of the crash created a crater, and the wreckage was scattered across an area of approximately 150 yards.

The incident began when the Cessna entered restricted airspace, triggering a response from military authorities. Two F-16 jets were dispatched from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to intercept the plane. Despite attempts by the Federal Aviation Administration to contact the pilot, there was no response, leading to the military’s interception.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) clarified that the F-16 jets traveled at supersonic speeds to intercept the aircraft, resulting in the sonic boom heard across Washington, D.C., as well as in the neighboring areas of Virginia and Maryland. The jets also deployed flares to capture the pilot’s attention.

Following the incident, officials determined that the Cessna did not pose a threat, and investigations will focus on why the pilot failed to respond to the FAA’s attempts at communication. It is important to note that the Cessna was not shot down.

The crash occurred near the George Washington National Forest in Virginia, according to NORAD, although earlier reports from the FAA indicated that it crashed into mountainous terrain in a sparsely populated area of southwest Virginia, near Montebello.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud boom that resembled an explosion, causing their homes to shake. A sonic boom occurs when an object travels faster than the speed of sound, around 750 miles per hour at sea level.

As authorities continue their investigation into the tragic plane crash, the focus will be on determining the circumstances leading to the unauthorized entry into restricted airspace and the pilot’s failure to respond. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of airspace security and the swift response of military authorities to potential threats.