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US Capitol evacuated over aircraft deemed ‘probable threat’

The Army Golden Knights jump aircraft, the UV-18 Viking Twin Otter, flies during training in Homestead, Florida on 7 Feb. 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Megan Hackett)
April 20, 2022

The U.S. Capitol was evacuated Wednesday evening after Capitol Police said an aircraft in the area posed a “probable threat.” An “all clear” message was called soon after and the Capitol Police said there was no threat.

“The USCP is tracking an aircraft that poses a probable threat to the Capitol Complex,” the initial announcement said. “Evacuate the U.S. Capitol, Capitol Visitor Center, Hart, Dirksen, Russell, Cannon, Longworth, Rayburn, Library of Congress (Jefferson, Madison and Adams) and U.S. Botanic Garden (Administrative and Conservatory) buildings.”

At 6:48 p.m EST, the U.S. Capitol Police confirmed the evacuation and tweeted, “The Capitol was evacuated out of an abundance of caution this evening. There is no threat at the Capitol. More details to come.”

At 8:12 pm EST, the Capitol Police said, “The Congressional buildings are now open for staff to go back inside.”

Aircraft tracking data showed a Viking UV-18C Twin Otter 400 aircraft circling Navy Yard at 100 mph. The aircraft has been used by the U.S. Army Golden Knights for jumps since 2013.

It’s unclear if this was the aircraft that was suspected of posing a threat to the Capitol.

Video later showed the U.S. Army Golden Knights jump team parachuting into the Washington Nationals stadium ahead of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Another video showed the small plane flying overhead near the Capitol.

The U.S. Army Golden Knights jump team was expected for the team’s Military Appreciation Day.

The incident took place one day after the Capitol Police held a training exercise on Tuesday.

The exercise involved federal, state, and local partners with emergency vehicles and low-flying helicopters.