US Capitol briefly evacuated

The U.S. Capitol was briefly evacuated Saturday afternoon after an unauthorized plane entered restricted airspace.

U.S. Capitol Police decided to evacuate the Capitol when the small aircraft did not communicate with ground controllers. It was eventually cleared. 

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The Capitol temporarily went into "AirCon Red," meaning there was "a plane within restricted space," according to Capitol police spokesman Shennell Antrobus. He could not describe the plane further than "a small aircraft." 

However, communication was eventually established, and police decided the craft was not a security threat and let everyone back into the building, going back to "AirCon Green."

Capitol police noted there was no immediate danger and the call to evacuate the U.S. Capitol was standard procedure.

There was initial confusion about the evacuation of the Capitol due to two events that coincided.  

Antrobus said, "One was a suspicious package situation and the other one was an evacuation of the building because of a small aircraft."

Shortly before the aircraft entered restricted airspace, a suspicious package was found on the South Mezzanine Ramp outside the Capitol Visitors Center. The package was cleared and the area was reopened.  

Ross Feinstein, a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson told reporters via twitter later in the day the plane had landed in North Carolina and the pilot was being interviewed by law enforcement.

“Looks like the pilot was just confused,” he said.

Feinstein said the plane was registered in Connecticut but had departed from Massachusetts.

This post was updated at 5:50 p.m.