Capitol evacuated briefly after airspace violation

US Capitol and Pennsylvania Ave., are seen from the Old Post Office’ clock tower, Saturday, April 26, 2014. Renovation work to convert the 115-year-old building, that has come close to demolition twice over the years and is the second tallest structure in Washington, after the Washington Monument, into a hotel will require closing the observation deck to the public for the next 2 years. The federal government signed a 60-year lease with Trump International Hotel to transform the historic building into a luxury hotel, with plans for 270 hotel rooms. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
US Capitol and Pennsylvania Ave., are seen from the Old Post Office’ clock tower, Saturday, April 26, 2014. Renovation work to convert the 115-year-old building, that has come close to demolition twice over the years and is the second tallest structure in Washington, after the Washington Monument, into a hotel will require closing the observation deck to the public for the next 2 years. The federal government signed a 60-year lease with Trump International Hotel to transform the historic building into a luxury hotel, with plans for 270 hotel rooms. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Capitol Police say the Capitol and surrounding office buildings were briefly evacuated after a small airplane entered restricted airspace over Washington.

The evacuation was ordered about 1:30 p.m. Saturday. A Capitol Police spokeswoman says the pilot of the aircraft did not immediately communicate after it flew into restricted space, and that’s what led to the evacuation.

The alert was lifted about 2 p.m. after the pilot began communicating, and visitors and staff were allowed back into the buildings.

The Secret Service says its agents will interview the pilot, in line with protocol. The agency says the incident didn’t affect security at the White House. President Barack Obama was playing golf at a military base in Maryland at the time.

Airspace violations by small planes are common in Washington.

 

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