The US Capitol was evacuated for a few minutes Wednesday after a plane carrying paratroopers headed to a nearby baseball game triggered a false alarm at the US Congress.
After 06:30 local time, the Capitol Police announced that they had ordered the immediate evacuation of the entire parliamentary complex and several surrounding buildings, after detecting that a plane was approaching the area that they initially described as a “probable threat”.
However, minutes after warning about the issue, the same agency stressed in a statement that the evacuation had taken place “as a precaution” and that there was “no active threat” against the Capitol.
Official sources consulted by the CNN and NBC networks assured that the alarm was generated by a single-engine aircraft that was transporting US Army paratroopers who were heading to the Washington baseball stadium, located about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) from the Capitol.
The plane did not have “proper permission” to fly over the area and apparently the Pentagon did not inform the Capitol Police of plans to do so, according to the aforementioned networks.
The paratroopers smoothly completed their plan to drop onto the stadium of the home team, the Nationals, who had scheduled the show as a tribute to the nation’s military just before the start of their game Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The evacuation notice, which also included the nearby Library of Congress and the Botanical Garden, generated alarm on social networks, but the panic did not last long, as the Police immediately warned that they were preparing the buildings of the complex so that it could return to get into them.
Most congressional lawmakers were out of Washington on a two-week recess.
The Capitol has reinforced its security after the assault on the legislative headquarters carried out on January 6, 2021, by hundreds of radical followers of then US President Donald Trump.
Five people died and about 140 agents were attacked in that assault, which failed in its objective of preventing Congress from ratifying the electoral victory of now president Joe Biden.