Residents in the vicinity of Washington, DC and surrounding areas in Maryland and Virginia were surprised to hear what sounded like an explosion Sunday afternoon when four F-16 fighter jets went supersonic after being scrambled by NORAD to intercept an unresponsive aircraft that eventually crashed in a mountainous area near Montebello, Virginia.
According to the FAA, the plane crashed at 3:30 p.m., approximately 10 minutes after it was intercepted by the F-16s and it was determined that the pilot of the Cessna Citation business jet appeared to be "passed out" while seated at the controls.
The plane was owned by Encore Motors of Melbourne and had taken off from Elizabethton, Tennessee, and was headed to an airport on Long Island before it made a surprising turn as it approached its destination and flew southwest through restricted airspace above Washington, D.C. which led to the scrambling of the F-16s.
John Rumpel, the owner of Encore Motors of Melbourne, a company based in Florida, confirmed that his "entire family" was on board the plane at the time of the unusual crash. According to Rumpel, his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, and their nanny died along with the pilot in the accident.
"We know nothing about the crash," Rumpel told the Washington Post. "We are talking to the FAA now... I've got to keep the line clear," he concluded.
While the details of what led to the crash remain a mystery, many familiar with aviation have said that a cabin pressurization issue could have led to the pilot's incapacitation at the controls which ultimately led to the accident.
Some, however, are calling into question whether or not the pilot could have experienced some type of vaccine injury or other event related to the Covid-19 vaccines that were forced on many pilots by their employers during the pandemic.
Pilots with United Airlines reported having access to their benefits and 401Ks cut off after refusing to receive the mandatory vaccines, citing filed religious exemptions that were denied.
It will likely take several months for the FAA and NTSB to release their preliminary reports and potentially years for a full investigation into the crash to be completed, however, searchers have located the crash site and have confirmed, regrettably, that there were no survivors.
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