WASHINGTON – Capitol Hill was evacuated Wednesday evening after a scare was caused by parachutists from the Army Golden Knights jumping into Nationals Park.
The Army parachutists flew into restricted airspace, causing the Capitol Police to issue the initial alert, which cited an “aircraft that poses a probable threat,” at about 6:30 p.m.
Less than 30 minutes later, Capitol Police issued an all-clear and said the evacuation was out of an “abundance of caution.
In a statement tonight, @SpeakerPelosi says Congress will review what happened today and “who at the Federal Aviation Administration will be held accountable for this outrageous and frightening mistake.” @fox5dc
— Jacqueline Matter (@JMatter_TV) April 21, 2022
The Associated Press confirmed that the De Havilland Twin Otter aircraft triggered the alarm after entering the exclusion zone around the U.S. Capitol after dropping off members of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights, who parachuted into the Washington Nationals’ baseball stadium for a pregame demonstration.
Nationals Park is in Navy Yard, a little more than a mile away from the U.S. Capitol.
The aircraft reportedly took off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, according to two people familiar with the matter. The people said the aircraft did not report taking off and did not have the appropriate clearance. The people were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
In a statement, Kelli LeGaspi, spokeswoman for United States Army Recruiting Command tells FOX 5: “We are aware of the issues that occurred during the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team’s demonstration at the Washington Nationals baseball game as part of Military Appreciation Night April 20. We are reviewing all aspects of the event to ensure all procedures were followed appropriately to coordinate both the flight and the parachute demonstration. We will not comment further until we are able to determine the facts of the situation.”
The FAA issued the following statement to FOX 5 regarding the incident: “The FAA takes its role in protecting the national airspace seriously and will conduct a thorough and expeditious review of the events this evening and share updates. We know our actions affect others, especially in our nation’s capital region, and we must communicate early and often with our law enforcement partners.”
The Capitol was evacuated out of an abundance of caution this evening.
There is no threat at the Capitol.
More details to come. pic.twitter.com/7qqxqQyzlD
— U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) April 20, 2022