Airspace Violation Prompts Evacuation of Capitol


capitol-hillFederal officials say an airliner pilot inadvertently turned his radio to the wrong frequency, leading the plane to lose radio contact and prompting the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters says the agency is reviewing the “pilot readback error.” The loss of radio contact as the plane approached the nation’s capital led officials to dispatch fighter jets and also evacuate all House and Senate office buildings.

Authorities say the U.S. Capitol and surrounding buildings were evacuated and fighter jets were scrambled after an airliner flying into Washington’s Reagan airport went out of radio contact.

The FAA said a Piedmont Airlines flight from Hilton Head, S.C., lost radio contact Saturday as it approached the area.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled fighter jets out of Andrews Air Force Base in response.

Capitol Police issued an evacuation order on Saturday warning workers that an aircraft entered restricted airspace.

The order was called off after controllers made contact with the plane and it landed at Reagan, which is directly across the Potomac River from Washington.