Military says fighter jet intercepted private plane over Trump’s Arizona rally

F-16 scrambled after pilot strayed into restricted space near president

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 28 October 2020 23:51 GMT
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U.S. fighter jet intercepts general aviation aircraft that entered restricted airspace near Trump’s rally
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The military says a fighter jet intercepted a plane over Donald Trump’s Arizona rally and deployed flares in response.

The incident was caught on video as the president campaigned in Bullhead City, Arizona, and initially appeared to be a military flyover.

Mr Trump appeared caught unawares by the incident and pointed up at the fighter jet as it fired the flares.

But the North American Aerospace Defense Command says it scrambled an F-16 fighter after the plane entered restricted airspace around the rally and could not be contacted.

The fighter jet “deployed signal flares” as a warning and contact was quickly established with the offending aircraft.

“The violating aircraft was non-responsive to initial intercept procedures, but established radio communications after NORAD aircraft deployed signal flares,” said NORAD in a statement.

"The violating aircraft was escorted out of the restricted area by the NORAD aircraft without further incident."

“I love that sound," said the president as he misidentified the jet as an F-35 while the crowd chanted “USA."

But Mr Trump also took the opportunity to bash his Democratic rivals.

“You know how hard it is to get Democrats to pay for that?” said Mr Trump.

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