After worrying reports of an unresponsive airliner approaching restricted airspace surfaced, the cause of the sonic boom heard above Washington, DC, on Sunday has been identified.
On Sunday afternoon, a Cessna with an inattentive pilot and passengers entered a prohibited area of the sky, prompting the immediate dispatch of fighter jets.
In order to approach the unresponsive aircraft, the Pentagon’s F-16s broke over supersonic speed, which terrified the people of Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. who heard the resulting boom.
My wife and I were recording a song on an iPhone and captured the boom in Fairfax VA pic.twitter.com/US7Bcfl8b5
— literal mastodon (@Travisagainst) June 4, 2023
— Jared McQueen (@goodguyguybrush) June 4, 2023
After reports that the DC National Guard had “cleared supersonic” to respond to an unknown Cessna that was evading radio requests and flying on a “strange flight path” outside the country’s capital, Americans’ concerns about the sonic boom increased.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) declared in a statement that “the civilian aircraft was intercepted at about 3:20 p.m.”
“The NORAD aircraft were authorized to travel at supersonic speeds and a sonic boom may have been heard by residents of the region,” NORAD added.
NORAD said that several attempts, including the use of flares, were attempted to attract the pilot’s notice. It was unsuccessful in waking up the pilot, who was said to have “passed out.”
The jet was kept under observation after it was determined that the pilot was not breathing until it crashed into a mountainous area close to Virginia’s George Washington National Forest.
John Rumpel, a Florida businessman and proprietor of Encore Motors, was later identified as the owner of the aircraft.
Rumpel is a well-known supporter of conservative political causes. He has contributed significantly to Ron DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign as well as Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Adina Azarian, Rumpel’s 49-year-old daughter, her 2-year-old daughter, and the family caregiver were all killed in the plane disaster.
A Hampton luxury realtor named Adina was traveling with her daughter to East Hampton from Tennessee.
An emotional Rumpel disclosed to The New York Times that his daughter and granddaughter had just returned from a four-day visit with him at his North Carolina home.
Rumpel, a licensed pilot, thinks the captain and his family may have lost consciousness as a result of the jet losing pressurization in the air.
“They all just would have gone to sleep and never woke up,” Rumpel said.