Republican donor loses 'entire family' in DC area plane crash

 June 5, 2023

F-16 planes were scrambled Sunday afternoon to intercept an unresponsive private jet that flew over the nation's capital before crashing in rural Virginia with no survivors.

The F-16s caused a sonic boom that was heard throughout the D.C. region.

The owner of the Cessna jet that crashed, 75-year-old Trump donor John Rumpel, said his "entire family" was on board.

No survivors in crash

Rumpel's daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, and her nanny were returning to their home in the Hamptons after visiting Rumpel in North Carolina, Rumpel said.

The jet was falling at a speed of 30,000 feet per minute at one point, according to flight tracking sites. Rumpel, a pilot, said he just hopes the plane lost pressurization before the crash, which would have put his loved ones to sleep during their final moments.

“I don’t think they’ve found the wreckage yet,” Rumpel told the newspaper. “It descended at 20,000 feet a minute, and nobody could survive a crash from that speed.”

Rumpel and his wife Barbara are Republican donors.

“My family is gone, my daughter and granddaughter,” Barbara Rumpel, an NRA executive, wrote on Facebook.

Sonic boom

The jet was destined for MacArthur Airport on Long Island, but once reaching the island it turned around and started flying southwest. Military jets were scrambled from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland once the plane entered restricted airspace over Washington D.C around 3 p.m.

The F-16s were authorized to travel at supersonic speeds, which caused the sonic boom that startled residents in the area, North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) said. The F-16s did not shoot down the plane, the Washington Post reported.

The exact cause of the crash is unclear, but the F-16s observed that the pilot was passed out. They used flares in an attempt to alert him, NORAD said.

Around 8 p.m., first responders reached the crash site on foot in a mountainous area of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia State Police said, where they found no survivors.

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