The huge exploding sound heard around the Washington, D.C. area Sunday afternoon came from a sonic boom created by F-16 fighter jets that scrambled to intercept a civilian aircraft that had entered restricted airspace. The aircraft, a Cessna Citation, was flying a strange flight path and the pilots of the F-16s were able to see that the civilian pilot was unconscious.

The jets were out of a New Jersey Air Force base:

The Continental US North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said two F-16 jets out of an Air National Guard base near Atlantic City, New Jersey and two out of the DC National Guard at Andrews Air Force Base responded to the Cessna over Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia.

In order to catch up with the plane, the jets were authorized to fly at supersonic speeds, and the sonic boom came from the two F-16 jets out of Andrews.

Although the jets’ pilots attempted to contact the pilot of the Cessna, they were unsuccessful and the plane went down. The Federal Aviation Administration has not released further information about the crash.

RedState‘s Bonchie, who is a commercial pilot, tweeted his observations:

The Washington Post spoke with the owner of the Cessna:

The Cessna was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne, Florida, according to the flight-tracking website Flight Aware.

Encore owner John Rumpel told the Washington Post his daughter, a grandchild and her nanny were on board.

“We know nothing about the crash,” the Post quoted Rumpel as saying. “We are talking to the FAA now,” he added before ending the call.

President Joe Biden was playing golf at Joint Base Andrews around the time of the sonic boom. The White House and the Capitol were put on high alert but not “red alert,” which would have triggered an evacuation:

Fox is told that security officials at the Capitol briefly flipped the alert posture from “Green” to “Yellow.” Blue” and “Red” are higher levels of alert, and when the latter is issued, the Capitol is evacuated.

Officials told Fox that the Capitol was at an elevated posture for a short time before determining the plane that entered restricted airspace was not a threat. In fact, officials also told Fox the Capitol was never in any danger.

RedState will bring you further information on this story as it becomes available.