Small Plane Forced to Land at Frederick Airport After Airspace Violation

FREDERICK, Maryland (AP) -- A small plane violated the restricted airspace around the presidential retreat of Camp David while the president was spending the weekend there, federal authorities said.

The pilot was forced to land and was questioned but was released late Saturday without being charged, Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry said Sunday.

The White House did not respond to questions about whether President George W. Bush had to be evacuated from the area during the incident or was even aware of the plane.

The small Cessna was intercepted by two F-16 fighters about eight miles (13 kilometers) from Camp David at around 10:45 p.m. Saturday (0245 GMT Sunday), Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Holly Baker told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The plane was forced to land at Frederick Municipal Airport.

The Frederick News-Post reported that a man and woman were questioned, but Cherry wouldn't comment on the report.

On Wednesday, the White House briefly went to red alert when another plane entered restricted airspace around Washington. President Bush was hurried from his residence to a safer location and lawmakers were ordered to evacuate the Capitol. Two fighters intercepted the twin-engine, propeller-driven plane eight miles (13 kilometers) northeast of the Capitol and escorted it to Winchester, Virginia.

On May 11, a Cessna violated restricted airspace and sent lawmakers and other government workers scrambling from the Capitol, the White House and other federal buildings. That plane also was escorted to Frederick.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hundreds of pilots have violated Washington's restricted airspace.