FAA Apologizes for Failing to Notify the Capitol Police of the Nationals Park Parachute Jump

  • US Army Golden Knights Flew over Nationals Park During a Baseball Game
  • Urgent Evacuation of the U.S. Capitol

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) apologized for its failure to alert Capitol Police about a parachute stunt at Nationals Park that resulted in an emergency evacuation of the U.S. Capitol.

The parachute stunt, which was part of a Military Appreciation Night at the ballpark, caused a brief scare at the Capitol when the members of the Golden Knights landed in the middle of the field at Nationals Park. The U.S. Capitol Police evacuated the area as a precautionary measure.

In a statement, the FAA said it “failed to notify” the Capitol Police about the parachute jump “in a timely manner.”

In Wednesday’s incident, a twin-engine plane took off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and was circling inside tightly controlled airspace near the Capitol. The plane, a De Havilland Twin Otter, remained clear of restricted airspace over the Capitol building and other government buildings at all times, according to tracking data from the radar. After the parachutists landed in the middle of the field at Nationals Park, about 1 mile from the U.S. Capitol, the plane returned to Andrews Airport around 6:50 p.m.

The agency said in a statement: “The FAA’s initial review of the circumstances surrounding Wednesday night’s parachute demonstration by the U.S. Army Golden Knights at Nationals Park showed that we did not provide advance notification of this event to the U.S. Capitol Police. We deeply regret that we contributed to a precautionary evacuation of the Capitol complex and apologize for the disruption and fear experienced by those who work there.”

“The FAA is investigating the incident and will take appropriate action to prevent this from happening again,” the agency said.

The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that it is “reviewing security protocols” in light of the incident.

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