F-16 escorts Cessna plane away from restricted Florida airspace
Saturday, February 16, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- A military jet and helicopter swooped alongside a small plane Saturday and escorted it away from a temporary restricted flight zone above Florida's eastern coast, where President Barack Obama was spending the holiday weekend with friends, officials said.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mike Humphreys said an F-16 jet and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter intercepted the plane just before noon and forced it to land a few minutes later at Witham Field in Stuart, Fla.
Federal Aviation Administration officials said in a statement that they're investigating whether the Cessna 152 entered the restricted area above Florida's Treasure Coast. No other information about the Cessna was immediately released.
A description of temporary flight restrictions posted on the FAA's website said the section of Florida airspace will be closed until Monday for "VIP Movement."
Aboard Air Force One on Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest responded to a reporter's question about the president's "guy's weekend" by confirming that Obama was looking forward to spending the President's Day holiday weekend with a group of friends in Florida.
"I'm sure they'll take advantage of the opportunity to play some golf," Earnest said.