Nationals parachutists accidentally trigger evacuation at US Capitol

·Writer
·2 min read

Military Appreciation Day didn’t go as planned for the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.

It went so bad that it triggered an evacuation of the U.S. Capitol.

The Capitol complex was evacuated due to an “aircraft posing a probable threat” on Wednesday afternoon. Thankfully it didn't last long, and the Capitol was given the all-clear minutes after the initial evacuation alert.

As it turns out, the “probable threat” was parachutists dropping into Nationals Park ahead of the Nats' game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

According to The Associated Press, the aircraft took off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland without reporting its departure or getting the appropriate clearance. The plane was carrying members of the Army Golden Knights, the official parachute team of the U.S. Army.

While it undoubtedly looked cool for fans sitting at the stadium, the plan wasn't delivered to Capitol security. After looking at the flight plan without any other context, it’s easy to see why an evacuation was triggered. A plane circling government buildings would tend to do that.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed the Federal Aviation Administration for the error, according to The Associated Press, saying that the FAA's "apparent failure to notify Capitol Police of the pre-planned flyover Nationals Stadium is outrageous and inexcusable."

"Congress looks forward to reviewing the results of a thorough after-action review that determines what precisely went wrong today and who at the Federal Aviation Administration will be held accountable for this outrageous and frightening mistake,” Pelosi said, via The Associated Press.

Next time the Nationals want to pull off a pregame stunt, considering where their stadium is located, officials may want to give the U.S. government a heads up.

U.S. Army parachute team at Nationals Park
A parachute demonstration at Nationals Park on Wednesday night triggered an evacuation at the U.S. Capitol. (AP/Alex Brandon)
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