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White House, Capitol Briefly Locked Down Over Possible Airspace Violation

But Further Investigation Finds It May Not have Been An Aircraft In The National Capital Area

The White House and the U.S. Capitol were placed on "Restrictive Access" for a short time Tuesday morning when a mysterious "blob" was seen on radar at the Capitol Police Command Center.

CNN reports that the suspected aircraft was seen just south of the National Mall, and military aircraft were scrambled to respond to the potential threat. "Senior officials across the interagency are monitoring the situation on a national event conference call. NORAD aircraft are on site and responding. Plane is not considered hostile at this time," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell said early on in the lockdown.

But after the all-clear was given, there had been no determination that an aircraft had actually penetrated the restricted airspace around the nation's capital. When U.S. Coast Guard helicopters arrived at the location of the radar target, they found nothing threatening in the air.

So what was it that caused the furor? Official aren't saying anything definitive, but a White House official said that it might have been a drone. Capitol Police said that it might have been a flock of birds that appeared on radar and then dissipated.

The FAA did not report showing any aircraft on radar in the area, but according to a transcript between one of the NORAD pilots and air traffic control, the pilot did report that he "almost just hit a flock of birds here at about one thousand three hundred."

(Image from file)

FMI: Source report


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