Breaking: US fighter jets scrambled, created sonic boom pursuing passenger jet that ultimately crashed in Virginia (UPDATE)

News & Politics

6:50 p.m. ET: The Cessna was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne, Florida. John Rumpel told the Washington Post he was the owner of the plane, and that his daughter, grandchild, and a nanny were on board.

U.S. fighter jets were scrambled Sunday afternoon, creating a sonic boom, after a Cessna Citation passenger jet violated airspace around Washington, D.C., Reuters and other outlets reported.

The aircraft, which can carry seven to 12 passengers, crashed into mountainous terrain in southwest Virginia around 3 p.m., WHSV reported. The plane had not yet been found as of 5:20 p.m.

The fighter jets did not cause the crash, a U.S. official told Reuters.

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Officials said the Cessna was ignoring radio queries and flying on a “strange flight path,” Fox News Channel’s Lucas Tomlinson reported.

Reports of a “loud boom” flooded Twitter near the time of the crash. Various authorities, including the Annapolis Office of Emergency Management and the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management tweeted to reassure citizens there was no current threat.

The Cessna left Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Tennessee bound for Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York, WHSV also reported.

Virginia State Police told the outlet search efforts by state and local authorities are underway.

Fox 5 DC reported that a Cessna 560 Citation registered as N611VG took off from an airport, flew over New York, New Jersey, and Maryland in something of an elongated loop, then descended into a mountainous area in Virginia. It is not clear whether the two events are related.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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