Armed F-16 intercepts small plane over New York as Biden addresses UN General Assembly

Norad confirmed operation as part of normal enforcement of temporary flight restriction area

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 21 September 2021 21:45 BST
Related Video: Biden says the US is closing an era of ‘relentless war’ and opening one of ‘relentless diplomacy’ at UN General Assembly

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An armed F-16 fighter plane was seen flying low circles over the George Washington Bridge in New York City to divert a small plane away from the area on the day that Joe Biden addressed the United Nations.

Newsweek initially reported that editor-at-large Naveed Jamali saw the incident over the Hudson River by Washington Heights in northern Manhattan at approximately 2pm on Tuesday.

The incident comes only 12 days after the 20th anniversary commemorations of the 9/11 attacks on the US.

President Biden addressed the United Nations General Assembly at 10am in the morning and departed the city after meetings with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Iraqi President Barham Saleh.

The incident occurred at around the same time that Marine One, the presidential helicopter, departed Manhattan for the 15-minute journey to JFK Airport in Queens.

Mr Biden was on his way back to Washington, DC to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the White House.

Air Force One took off from JFK at 2.24pm and landed at Joint Base Andrews at 2.59pm. The president took Marine One to the White House and was in the Oval office t 3.27pm.

North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed to Newsweek that there is an “ongoing operation” over New York. Security in the city is tight with so many world leaders in town for the General Assembly.

A tweet from Norad elaborates: “F-16 fighter aircraft intercepted a small, single engine general aviation aircraft that violated the Temporary Flight Restriction area near #NYC. The aircraft was escorted out of the TFR w/o incident at approx EDT #OperationNoble Eagle.”

Adding further clarification, a second tweet reads: “ONE is the name given to air defense missions in N America. Norad closely coordinates air defense activities with the FAA and responds as required. Temporary Flight Restriction area violations such as this one occur from time to time and are a normal part of Norad operations.”

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