Brevard family linked to crashed plane that strayed into restricted airspace over capital

A small airplane that strayed into restricted airspace over the nation’s capital and prompted NORAD to scramble jets before crashing into the Virginia mountains was registered to a Melbourne business.

It was not immediately confirmed who or how many people were onboard or whether there were any survivors.

Search and Rescue operations in the Saint Mary's Wilderness area along the Blue Ridge Mountains near Montebello, Virginia for a Cessna Citation aircraft that crashed around 3:30pm June 4, 2023. Search and rescue teams leave the command post at St. Mary's Wilderness to go to the Blue Ridge Parkway to search for the plane crash site. (Photos by Randall K. Wolf)

The Cessna 560 Citation V involved in the crash was headed from Tennessee to Long Island before turning back toward Washington, D.C., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The flight originally took off from Melbourne Orlando International Airport, the Associated Press reported. The FAA said that the business aircraft crashed into the Virginia mountains near Montebello, at about 3:30 p.m. shortly after crossing over into restricted airspace over the nation’s capital.

The airplane is registered to Encore Motors in Melbourne, which is owned by Barbara Rumpel. Barbara and John Rumpel are prominent in Brevard County business and social life. John Rumpel told the Washington Post that his "entire family" was onboard the Cessna, including his daughter, a grandchild and a nanny, the Washington Post reported.

Rumpel told FLORIDA TODAY that he had “talked to the FAA, the police and the NTSB” but he had no further comment.

In response to condolences posted on Barbara Rumpel's earlier Facebook post about a National Rifle Association-related event, she responded, "My family is gone, my daughter and granddaughter."

Saint Mary's Wilderness area is the site of rescue crews searching for a Cessna that crashed nearby on Sunday, June 4, 2023.

The Associated Press reported that the two military jets were scrambled to find the Cessna. The jets also created sonic booms that rattled residents across the Washington, D.C., corridor.

The AP said the plane, after leaving Melbourne, headed to Elizabethtown, Tennessee, taking off from there for Long Island's MacArthur Airport.

Emergency rescue crews remain on the scene in Virginia.

The NTSB will conduct an investigation into the crash.

J.D. Gallop is a criminal justice/breaking news reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallop at 321-917-4641 or Twitter: @JDGallop.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Melbourne business linked to crashed plane that scrambled military jets