The US authorities launched F-16 fighter jets to pursue a small plane that violated the airspace in the zone of Washington DC and later crashed in mountainous terrain in southwestern Virginia, official sources reported.
The fighters caused a sonic boom over the US capital as they raced to catch up with the Cessna Citation, that can carry between seven and 12 passengers, according to authorities.
The Federal Aviation Administration said that a Cessna plane crashed in mountainous terrain in southwestern Virginia around the time the sonic boom was heard in the capital.
A US official said the fighter jets did not cause the crash.
A source familiar with the matter said the Cessna was believed to be on autopilot. and did not respond to efforts by authorities to contact him.
The sonic boom caused consternation among many residents of the capital region, who took to Twitter to report that they had heard a loud noise that caused the floor and walls to shake. Several residents said they heard the noise as far away as Northern Virginia and Maryland.