US President Biden rushed to safe house after unauthorized plane violates airspace
Washington, Jun 5: US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were moved from their Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Saturday afternoon after a small private plane entered restricted airspace, a White House official said.
"A small private plane entered restricted airspace, all indications are by mistake, and precautionary measures were taken," an official said. The decision to evacuate Biden and the first lady was taken as a precautionary measure although "there was no threat" to them.
However, they returned to their home after the situation was assessed, an official said later.
In a statement, the Secret Service said that the plane was immediately escorted from the restricted airspace after "mistakenly entering a secured area."
"Shortly before 1 p.m. today a privately owned aircraft entered the restricted airspace over Rehoboth Delaware after mistakenly entering a secured area. The aircraft was immediately escorted out of the restricted airspace. Preliminary investigation reveals the pilot was not on the proper radio channel, was not following the NOTAMS (Notice to Airmen) that had been filed and was not following published flight guidance. The United States Secret Service will be interviewing the pilot," Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in the statement, passed along by the White House.
Federal regulations require pilots to check for flight restrictions along their route before taking off.
The Federal Aviation Administration published flight restrictions earlier this week before Biden's beach town visit. The restrictions include a 10-mile radius no-fly zone contained with a 30-mile restricted zone.
In spite of these curbs, the instances of accidental airspace breaches, particularly around temporary restricted zones, are common. U.S. military jets and Coast Guard helicopters are often used to intercept any planes that violate the flight restrictions around the president. Intercepted planes are diverted to a nearby airfield where aircrews are interviewed by law enforcement and face potential criminal or civil penalties.