White House evacuated after security alert
WASHINGTON: US fighter jets were scrambled and the White House and US Congress evacuated on Wednesday in a security alert reportedly caused by a small plane that strayed into restricted airspace.
A US fighter jet was seen flying over the Congress shortly after the evacuation was ordered around midday (1600 GMT).
CNN television said two F16s intercepted a light plane over the Silver Spring area in the Washington suburbs and fired two warning flares. The report said the jets circled the plane to make sure it did not reach central Washington.
Police had abruptly ordered lawmakers to evacuate and thousands of people abandoned the White House, Congress and surrounding office buildings. US stocks fell on Wednesday as investors were rattled after witnesses said the US Capitol building and White House were being evacuated.
“The market sold off and it bounced right back up,” Todd Leone, head of listed trading, SG Cowen, said. “It doesn’t seem like it was a big deal. It’s gone right back up. The market was a little weak today so it’s just adding to it.” The Dow Jones industrial average was down 50.61 points, or 0.49 percent, at 10,230.50 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 3.50 points, or 0.30 percent. agencies