US Capitol evacuation: Leaders call for investigation into incident caused by Army plane

Congressional and local leaders are calling for hearings into the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday evening.

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The evacuations happened after a plane carrying an Army parachute team to the Washington Nationals came into restricted airspace. The Army Golden Knight Parachute Team was the highlight of Military Appreciation Night at Nationals Park. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is facing new scrutiny about why it didn’t tell Capitol Police about the flight. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the FAA's decision to not tell officials about the plane "outrageous and inexcusable."

Fox 5’s Tom Fitzgerald reports that security officials will hold an internal briefing Thursday night with congressional leaders to discuss what happened. In addition to the briefing, D.C. Delegate Elanor Holmes Norton is calling for Congressional hearings over the communication breakdown.

RELATED: Brief Capitol evacuation caused by Army parachute demo at Nats Park

"This was a colossal communications breakdown and as you look for culprits it looks like it’s with the FAA which did NOT notify the Capitol Police," said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Retired U.S. Secret Service agent Jeff James tells Fox 5 that while the pilot knew the plane's mission, it was up to others to tell Capitol Police. 

"This happens more often that you would think at least when we traveled with the President we would put up temporary flight restrictions and it happens more than you think for a couple of reasons – part is, some pilots just don’t read the notices before they go up and fly," said James.

CEO of The Flight Safety Foundation Dr. Hassan Shahidi believe the investigation into the incident will focus on why there was a miscommunication.

"When? If the Capitol Police were informed – and if they weren't – when did those communications occur within the Capitol Police’s communication’s. So there’s many unanswered questions right now," Shahidi tells Fox 5.


This is not the first time a plane has prompted an evacuation at the U.S. Capitol. It also happened in May 2005 during former President Ronald Reagan's funeral, when an unidentified plane carrying Kentucky’s Governor triggered alarms. It also happened in 2015, when a man in a gyro-copter was able to land on the capitol lawn.