US Capitol briefly evacuated on Washington Nationals pre-game parachute show

On Wednesday, a Washington Nationals pre-game display involving U.S. Army paratroopers briefly prompted an evacuation at the U.S. Capitol. At approximately 6:30 p.m., United States Capitol Police sent an alarming notice to Capitol Hill staff that they were “tracking an aircraft that poses a probable threat to the Capitol complex.”

Less than 20 minutes later, police sent out an update: “The aircraft no longer poses a threat to the Capitol,” and the USCP said buildings at the complex were being readied for re-entry. His message did not contain any other information about the plane that police initially considered a “likely threat”.

According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Federal Aviation Administration failed to notify Capitol police of the pre-planned flyover, a communications breakdown she called “scandalous and inexcusable.”

“The unnecessary panic caused by this apparent neglect has been particularly damaging to members, staff and institutional workers still dealing with the trauma of the attack on their workplace on January 6,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Congress looks forward to considering the results of a thorough after-action review that will determine precisely what went wrong today and who at the Federal Aviation Administration will be held accountable for this outrageous and chilling mistake. “

The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS News.

The USCP tweeted that the Capitol had been evacuated “out of an abundance of caution” and promised “more details to come.”

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals
A member of the U.S. Army Parachute Team The Golden Knights lands at Nationals Park prior to the game between the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks on April 20, 2022 in Washington, DC

Getty Images

While the evacuation was underway, flight-tracking site FlightAware reported that a plane flying into the restricted area belonged to the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team – which was dropping paratroopers during the game of the Washington Nationals in recognition of Military Appreciation Day.

Social media users tweeted about the Golden Knights landing.

The USCP made no further statement on the evacuation.

Members of Congress are on their second week of vacation and are not expected to return until next week.

Kathryn Krupnick, Jack Turman and Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.

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