A loud sonic boom that was felt throughout the Washington, D.C., area on Sunday reportedly came from a fighter jet that was scrambled to respond to a small aircraft that entered a no-fly zone and later crashed in Virginia.
The trespassing Cessna Citation did not respond to authorities who tried to contact the plane and is believed to have been on autopilot, a source told Reuters.
The City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management said the “explosion” that many people online reported hearing came from the fighter jet sent to intercept the plane.
“The loud boom that was heard across the DMV area was caused by an authorized DOD flight,” said the office, using the acronym for the Department of Defense. “This flight caused a sonic boom. That is all the information available at this time.”
Fox News correspondent Lucas Tomlinson said the F-16 that responded to the Cessna Citation was “cleared supersonic to respond,” meaning the jet was cleared to fly at faster than the speed of sound. The sonic boom that people heard was caused when the jet broke the sound barrier.
UPDATE: F-16 fighter jet from DC National Guard was “cleared supersonic to respond” to unknown Cessna ignoring radio queries flying on “strange flight path” outside nation’s capital, officials say. FAA says Cessna crashed near Staunton, Virginia.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) June 4, 2023
The F-16 deployed flares in an attempt to get the attention of the pilot, but did not appear successful, according to a statement from NORAD.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement the Cessna plane later crashed into a mountainous area in Virginia. There was no word about the status of anyone who was onboard the aircraft.
“A Cessna Citation crashed into mountainous terrain in a sparsely populated area of southwest Virginia around 3 p.m. local time on June 4,” the FAA said. “The aircraft took off from Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tenn., and was bound for Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York. The FAA and NTSB will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and provide all further updates.”