REHOBOTH BEACH, Delaware (AP) — A small private plane accidentally entered restricted airspace near President Joe Biden’s Delaware vacation home on Saturday, prompting a brief evacuation of the president and first lady, the White House and the secret service.
The White House said there was no threat to Biden or his family and that precautionary measures had been taken. After the situation was assessed, Biden and his wife Jill returned to their home in Rehoboth Beach.
The intelligence service said in a statement that the plane was immediately escorted out of restricted airspace after it “mistakenly entered a secured area”. The agency said it would question the pilot, who, after a preliminary investigation, was not on the correct radio channel and was not following published flight instructions.
As is customary with presidential trips outside of Washington, the Federal Aviation Administration released flight restrictions earlier this week ahead of Biden’s visit to the beach town. The restrictions include a 10-mile radius no-fly zone contained within a 30-mile radius exclusion zone.
A reporter from CBS News said on Twitter that he saw Biden driving his car to a fire station in Rehoboth Beach. The group of reporters traveling with the President were not part of the motorcade.
Federal regulations require pilots to inquire about flight restrictions along their route before takeoff. Nonetheless, accidental airspace violations, particularly near temporary restricted zones, are common.
US military jets and Coast Guard helicopters are often used to intercept planes violating flight restrictions around the president. Intercepted aircraft are diverted to a nearby airfield, where crews are questioned by law enforcement and face potential criminal or civil penalties.
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