FAA did not inform Capitol police of plane that sparked Capitol evacuation

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Friday it did not “provide advance notification” to the U.S. Capitol Police of a plane in the highly restricted Capitol airspace that led to an evacuation of the building Wednesday. 

“The FAA’s initial review of the circumstances surrounding Wednesday night’s parachute demonstration by the U.S. Army Golden Knights at Nationals Park showed that we did not provide advance notification of this event to the U.S. Capitol Police,” the agency said in a statement shared with The Hill.

“We deeply regret that we contributed to a precautionary evacuation of the Capitol complex and apologize for the disruption and fear experienced by those who work there,” it continued.

Capitol Police evacuated the Capitol complex earlier this week after they a plane approached the airspace without prior notification.

The evacuation notice was lifted less than an hour later, and it was later revealed the plane was carrying the Golden Knights Parachute Team, who were slated to do a demonstration at the Washington Nationals baseball stadium for military appreciation night. 

The stadium is a mile away from the Capitol, and the complex requires any aircraft that flies in the space to notify Capitol Police in advance.

The Army said in a statement their team filed the appropriate paperwork to the FAA.

The FAA said in its statement that it is working with Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies to make any changes needed to ensure an incident like that does not happen in the future. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called FAA’s mistake “inexcusable” on Wednesday.

“Congress looks forward to reviewing the results of a thorough after-action review that determines what precisely went wrong today and who at the Federal Aviation Administration will be held accountable for this outrageous and frightening mistake,” she added.

Tags Army Capitol evacuation Capitol Police FAA military appreciation night

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