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The U.S. Army Recruiting Command said Thursday that it had obtained approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to perform a parachute jump at a Wednesday evening baseball game in Washington, D.C. that led to an alert and evacuation at the U.S. Capitol.
“[W]e have confirmed that the parachute team filed all appropriate and required Federal Aviation Administration documentation and received FAA approval prior to operating within the National Capitol Region’s airspace,” said Kelli LeGaspi, director of public affairs for U.S. Army Recruiting Command in a statement.
Capitol Police’s alert about the plane, which was transporting members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights who later parachuted into Nationals Park for Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday evening, sent congressional staffers fleeing the Capitol.
A law enforcement official said the FAA did not provide the required notification to the Capitol Police that a plane would be circling overhead, prompting the alert and blaring sirens at the Capitol to evacuate the complex.
Capitol Police on Thursday called the decision not to alert the force “extremely unusual,” and said officers followed the policies and procedures necessary to ensure the safety of congressional staff.
“The United States Capitol Police must make split-second decisions that could make the difference between life and death,” the Capitol Police statement said. “The decision to evacuate the campus is not one we take lightly.”
The FAA told Fox News in a statement it “takes its role in protecting the national airspace seriously and will conduct a thorough and expeditious review of the events this evening and share updates.”
The agency said it knows its actions affect others, “especially in our nation’s capital region, and we must communicate early and often with our law enforcement partners.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.