The FBI has reportedly released the two men who accidentally flew too close to the White House, sparking fears of a September 11-style attack. The light private Cessna ignored calls from air traffic controllers and entered restricted airspace in Washington DC. It came within five kilometres of the White House before turning away.
Homeland Security Department officials said no charges would be filed against the two men on board, thought to be a flight instructor and his student.
The plane’s approach sent two F-16 fighter jets into the air over the US capital. They intercepted the Cessna and fired four flares to get the pilot’s attention. Some 10,000 people were briefly evacuated from the White House, Capitol building and Supreme Court. President George W Bush was on a bicycle ride at wildlife preserve just outside Washington at the time and was not told about the alert until after it was over.