US fighter jets intercept unresponsive aircraft over Trump’s Florida resort
Two US F-15 jets have been scrambled to intercept an unresponsive plane that violated restricted airspace over President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. A sonic boom prompted a scare among locals who dialed 911 in panic, the air defense command said.
“The intent of military intercepts is to have the identified aircraft re-establish communications with local FAA air traffic controllers and instruct the pilot to follow air traffic controllers’ instructions to land safely for follow-on action,” the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement on Friday.
The incident took place at about 7pm ET when the two F-15s successfully re-established communication with the aircraft.
The jets raced from their base in Homestead, Florida, at supersonic speeds, creating a loud noise that alarmed local residents, the statement added.
“The intercept required the Air Force F-15s from Homestead Air National Guard Base to travel at supersonic speeds, a sound noticed by area residents, to get to the general aviation aircraft where they were able to establish communications,” the statement continued.
Tweeter users complained of the explosion-like sound.
I'm in Florida and the house just shook from some kind of explosion. People in multiple nearby cities reporting hearing it on Twitter. Yikes— Jason Feifer (@heyfeifer) February 18, 2017
Broward Country Sheriff’s Office asked residents not to call 911.
Booming sound heard in @CityofWeston and nearby cities was from military planes headed to Palm Beach County. Please don't tie up 9-1-1.— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 18, 2017
However, 911 centers were still flooded with phone calls from worried residents.
US President Donald Trump often spends his weekends in Florida at Mar-a-Lago. His frequent visits have raised tension since they reportedly disrupt people’s lives and businesses.
Palm Beach County Park Airport in Lantana, closest to Mar-a-Lago, has been shut down five times since December. Due to security measures, the Federal Aviation Administration bans all flights out of the airport every time Trump is there.
On February, 3, Trump’s Air Force One and a private plane got to about 2 nautical miles from each other, which is closer than permitted, over Florida, Bloomberg reported.
There was no risk of collision, however, but an investigation is underway.