Yesterday the entire family of a leading Trump donor and NRA donor died tragically in a private plane crash. Worse, the plane crashed after straying over the restricted airspace over the nation’s capital.
Details of the crash
Reportage on the incident comes from Fox News, The Guardian, the New York Post, and The Western Journal. Other outlets contributed to these four accounts. The first report of anything untoward came yesterday, when Washington, D.C. residents heard a loud noise. What some might have mistaken for an explosion – or even a thunderclap – turned out to be a sonic boom. The Annapolis Office of Emergency Management sent this message:
That “authorized DOD flight” consisted of six F-16 Fighting Falcons scrambling out of Joint Base Andrews (near Upper Marlboro, Md.). They had orders to intercept a Cessna Citation that had strayed into the restricted airspace over Washington. Two of the Falcons received clearance to fly supersonic to catch the Citation in a tail chase. This happened at 3:20 p.m. EDT. After catching up to the plane, according to these accounts, the Air Force crews tried to contact the Cessna, but got no response.
Not long afterward – at 3:30 p.m. EDT – the Citation crashed near Montebello, Virginia, near Staunton and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Four persons were on board; none survived.
Subsequently the Guardian reported on the identities of the plane’s occupants. They included the daughter of John Rumpel, a Florida businessman, Trump donor, and NRA donor; his granddaughter; a nanny; and the aircraft’s pilot. The family members had visited with Rumpel in North Carolina and then traveled to Elizabethton, Tennessee, to board the aircraft. The Citation took off, headed for Islip, New York, on Long Island.
Trump donor no stranger to tragedy
Apparently this Trump donor is no stranger to family tragedy. In 1994 he lost another daughter, Victoria, age 19, in a SCUBA dive gone wrong.
Rumpel speculated that the Citation lost pressurization at its cruising altitude. “They all just would have gone to sleep and never woke up,” in that event, he said.
The Post writer apparently used the Flight Aware website to trace the path of the Citation. According to the trace, it reached New York State, then turned nearly 180 degrees around and flew toward Virginia. When the Fighting Falcons caught up with it, it was flying on autopilot. Repeated radio calls and even flare drops attracted no attention.
Then the aircraft began to drop – as fast as 20,000 feet per minute – until it crashed. Military officials insist no one shot the aircraft down. Virginia State Police search and rescue teams found the wreckage at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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