Plane Crashes in Virginia After Pilot Passes Out

A private jet crashed in a mountainous region in Virginia on June 4th, 2023 after flying over a restricted airspace in Washington D.C. There were no survivors among four people onboard the aircraft.


Credit: Wikipedia

The plane, a Cessna 560 Citation V, belonged to a company owned by multi-millionaire John Rumpel and was registered N611VG. Rumpel stated that the passengers onboard were his family members, including his daughter and 2-year-old granddaughter.

The aircraft took off at 1:15pm local time from Elizabethton, Tennessee and was en route to Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York when the air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot. The pilot was unresponsive to calls from air traffic control 15 minutes after departure. 

Presumably on autopilot, the private jet flew over its destination at 34,000ft and turned around and started heading back to its origin in a straight line. 

During its autopilot cruise back to Elizabethton, the aircraft entered restricted airspace over Washington D.C., which prompted government officials to scramble six F-16 fighters to intercept the aircraft. The F-16 fighters caused sonic booms on the way to intercept the private jet, which alerted many residents over the Washington D.C. area.

Upon reaching the ill-fated private jet, pilots from the F-16 fighter jets observed that the pilot of the private plane was passed out at the controls. The F-16s tried to alert the pilot by firing flares, but all attempts were futile. 

The private jet continued cruising towards its origin until it ran out of fuel and crashed into a rural, mountainous region in Virginia. 

Credit: CNN News

Cause of the Crash

The FAA and NTSB are currently investigating the incident and have not provided an explanation for the crash; however, it is likely that the plane experienced a loss of cabin pressure shortly after takeoff, as evident by the unconscious state of the pilot. The people onboard would have experienced hypoxia from a lack of oxygen and would have been unaware of the entire event.


Cover Image: NBC News Washington

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