A small plane headed from Tennessee to New York detoured from its original flight plan and caused fighter jets to scramble with a sonic boom in Washington, D.C., Sunday after reportedly being unresponsive and flying near the U.S. Capitol before crash-landing in the mountains of Virginia.
The plane, originally coming from Florida, made a stop at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, Sunday afternoon before continuing on its flight path to Long Island, New York. Except, it never made it.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane turned around over New York's Long Island and flew a straight path over D.C. before it crashed over mountainous terrain near Montebello, Virginia, around 3:30 p.m.
So what happened to cause the plane's detour and who was on board?
Where did the Cessna leave from and where was it going?
The flight originally took off from Melbourne Orlando International Airport just before 11 a.m. Sunday, according to FlightAware records. It arrived at Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, at 12:31 p.m. before taking off at 1:13 p.m. for Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York, according to the FAA and FlightAware.
What was the plane's flight path after Tennessee?
According to FlightAware, The flight path of the Cessna 560 Citation V shows it took off from Tennessee, taking it northeast to New York's Long Island, where it turned around, flying over D.C. before crashing in Montebello, Virginia, near the George Washington National Forest Sunday.
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – In coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, NORAD F-16 fighter aircraft responded to an unresponsive Cessna 560 Citation V aircraft over Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia on June 4, 2023.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) June 4, 2023
What type of plane caused the sonic boom in Washington, D.C. Sunday?
F-16 fighter jets from the D.C. National Guard were “cleared supersonic to respond” to the unknown Cessna 560 that was ignoring radio queries.
The sonic boom from one of the jets startled people across Washington and parts of Maryland and Virginia as the fighters pursued the unresponsive plane, firing off flares in an ill-fated effort to gain the pilot's attention.
Who were the passengers on the plane?
The Cessna was registered to Encore Motors. John Rumpel, who runs the company, told The New York Times and The Washington Post that his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny and the pilot were aboard the plane.
The military jets and air traffic controllers were unable to make contact with the plane, officials said, and it crashed about 3:30 p.m. Virginia State Police said Sunday there appeared to be no survivors. https://t.co/OlkiLgTuPI
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 5, 2023
No survivors were found, according to Virginia state officials.
They were returning to their home in East Hampton on Long Island after visiting his house in North Carolina, he said.
Why did the plane veer off course?
The reason the Cessna veered off course is not known at this time, but loss of cabin pressure that could render the pilot and passengers unconscious was a possibility, the plane's owner said.
USA Today and Florida Today contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Why Cessna plane led F-16 scramble, sonic boom after Tennessee take off