Fighter jets are scrambled and White House and Capitol are put on lockdown as ‘unauthorized aircraft’ enters Washington D.C. airspace
- Plane which was not responding to air traffic control entered restricted airspace in Washington D.C. Tuesday morning
- Fighter jets at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland were scrambled
- Secret Service declared lockdown at the White House and told construction workers at its perimeter to get out and Capitol was also placed on lockdown
- Emergency was lifted at 9.17 a.m.; status of ‘unauthorized’ aircraft is still unclear
Secret Service agents issued a lockdown order at the White House on Tuesday morning, citing a ‘shelter in place’ order for an ’emergency’ that lasted just over a half-hour.
A U.S. Capitol Police source said shortly before 9:00 a.m. that there was an ‘unauthorized aircraft’ near Washington, D.C.
Air traffic control had lost contact with the aircraft, said the source, who didn’t know what kind of plane raised government alerts.
CNBC reported that fighter jets were scrambled. Joint Base Andrews, the nearby Air Force facility that handles Air Force One traffic, did not have an immediate comment.
Get out: Construction workers who were working on upgrading the White House fence were told to leave the area as the White House was placed on lockdown
Lockdown: Secret Service officers and police on patrol outside the White House as they enforce a lockdown, which was lifted after more than half an hour
Shelter in place: An unauthorized aircraft in Washington D.C. airspace prompted the ‘lockdown’ of the White House and Capitol
Scrambled: F-16 jets like these are on constant alert at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland
A reporter for The Independent reported seeing movement at a missile launch site near the U.S. Capitol, where similar lockdown orders were issued.
CNN reported on the air that the Pentagon had convened a ‘national event conference’ although the plane was not thought to be ‘hostile.’
National event conferences are interagency task forces put together at a moment’s notice to deal with fast-evolving national security or public health emergencies.
Reporters in the White House press briefing room were told to remain indoors as the drama unfolded, and the door was locked from the outside.
Construction workers building a replacement fence on the north side of the presidential mansion were evacuated shortly after 8:45 a.m.
‘They said, “Everybody get out.” Just like that,’ one hard-hatted worker told DailyMail.com.
‘It’s “shelter-in-place”,’ a uniformed agent patrolling on the west side said. Another confirmed that ‘there’s an emergency inside.’
‘We need you to shelter that way,’ he said, pointing across 17th street.
West Wing staffers with telltale blue badges were next to exit in smaller, straggling numbers. Two of them shrugged their shoulders at a question about what caused the evacuation.
‘Don’t know,’ one woman said. ‘They don’t tell us. They just said to go.’