(The Hill) – President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were temporarily evacuated while in Rehoboth Beach, Del., on Saturday after a small plane entered restricted airspace, apparently by accident.
“A small private plane entered restricted airspace, all indications are by mistake, and precautionary measures were taken,” a White House official said. “There was no threat to the President or his family.”
Anthony Guglielmi, spokesman for the Secret Service, said in a statement that the incident took place before 1 p.m. and the plane was escorted from the restricted area immediately.
“Preliminary investigation reveals the pilot was not on the proper radio channel, was not following the NOTAMS (Notice to Airmen) that had been filed, and was not following published flight guidance,” he said. “The United States Secret Service will be interviewing the pilot.”
Details about the identity of the pilot were not immediately clear.
As is standard practice for presidential trips outside Washington, the Federal Aviation Administration published flight restrictions earlier this week before Biden’s beach town visit. The restrictions include a 10-mile radius no-fly zone contained with a 30-mile restricted zone.
Federal regulations require pilots to check for flight restrictions along their route before taking off. Still, accidental airspace breaches, particularly around temporarily restricted zones, are common.
After the plane entered the restricted airspace, the Bidens were taken to a nearby fire station, Rehoboth Beach Fire Chief Chuck Snyder said to NBC News.
U.S. military jets and Coast Guard helicopters are often used to intercept any planes that violate the flight restrictions around the president. Intercepted planes are diverted to a nearby airfield where aircrews are interviewed by law enforcement and face potential criminal or civil penalties.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.