Small aircraft enters Capitol airspace

WASHINGTON Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:15pm EDT

The U.S. Capitol building is seen in Washington January 28, 2008. A small aircraft entered restricted airspace near the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday but it turned away and was not considered a threat, the U.S. Homeland Security Department said. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

The U.S. Capitol building is seen in Washington January 28, 2008. A small aircraft entered restricted airspace near the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday but it turned away and was not considered a threat, the U.S. Homeland Security Department said.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A small aircraft entered restricted airspace near the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday but it turned away and was not considered a threat, the U.S. Homeland Security Department said.

Department spokeswoman Laura Keehner said military planes were scrambled in response to the intrusion, and the plane had landed under Coast Guard escort in Leesburg, Virginia.

"There is no indication at this time of imminent threat," she said.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could not immediately identify the aircraft but said it had left the area.

No evacuation orders were issued at the U.S. Capitol, which is operating normally, according to Senate aides.

Keehner said the aircraft had been flying east as it entered the capitol airspace, turned to the south and then to the west.

(Reporting by Randall Mikkelsen, John Crawley and Richard Cowan, editing by Lori Santos)

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