Unauthorized Aircraft Leads to Evacuation of Capitol Hill

An unauthorized aircraft entered restricted airspace over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC., Saturday, prompting an evacuation of the Capitol.

The inbound aircraft, a Piedmont Airlines flight from Hilton Head, S.C., was first spotted in the restricted airspace at 1:30 p.m. As a precautionary measure, buildings were evacuated and secured, said the U.S. Capitol Police in an email.

The FAA said it lost radio contact with the aircraft as it approached the area, prompting the North American Aerospace Defense Command to scramble fighter jets out of Andrews Air Force Base.

Communications were eventually re-established with the plane, which has since landed safely at Reagan National Airport.

The Capitol has reopened and the U.S. Capitol Police and the Transportation Security Administration promise an investigation.

Piedmont is a wholly owned subsidiary of US Airways. Airline spokeswoman Tina Swail says the airline is working with local authorities to investigate the incident.

With the AP.