How could this have even happened?
On Thursday the United States Capitol Police (USCP) said that there were no planned activities in the Capitol airspace. This announcement followed the emergency evacuation on Wednesday.
According to the statement released on Thursday, the USCP said they make “split-second decisions that could make the difference between life and death” and that the decision to evacuate the campus was a serious one.
The reason for the evacuation was that an unidentified plane was spotted seconds away from the U.S. Capitol at 6:30 p.m. The order was given on Wednesday night.
The last time that the capital was evacuated because of a potential air threat was back in June of 2014.
“Every week the USCP is made aware of hundreds of authorized flights in the restricted airspace,” it added.
The Capitol Police also noted the importance of seconds in these situations and noted “it is extremely unusual not to be made aware of a flight in advance.”
“As soon as it was determined that we were not given advance notice of an approved flight, our officers followed USCP policies and procedures and immediately led everyone safely out of the Congressional buildings,” it said.
The statement, later on, added that the single-engine airplane was later found to be a military flight by the Golden Knights Parachute Team.
Some have criticized the team for the unnecessary evacuation however, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized the Federal Aviation Administration in a statement on Wednesday, noting that the incident was “particularly harmful” for Capitol personnel. She further stated that the congress would review “the results of a thorough after-action review that determines what precisely went wrong today” and that those at the FAA responsible for this “outrageous and frightening mistake” will be held accountable.