FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2009
SCHUMER ASKS TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY TO REQUIRE LOW-ALTITUDE FLIGHTS OVER NYC BE MADE PUBLIC AT LEAST 48 HOURS IN ADVANCE TO PREVENT YESTERDAY'S 9/11-LIKE PANIC
Senator Makes Direct Appeal to Secretary LaHood Asking Him to Develop a Procedure within the FAA to Warn New Yorkers Through Public Notice and Local Media
Schumer: "They Should Be Shouting it From the Rooftops"
In the wake a back-up Air Force One jumbo jet, tailed by at least one fighter jet, flew low over the Statue of Liberty and nearby communities that created panic in the streets and office buildings, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to direct his department to create an ironclad procedure to warn the public should a similar flight ever again take place again. Yesterday, Schumer blasted the Federal Aviation Administration for keeping the low-flight a secret.
“They should be shouting this information from the rooftops, not keeping it on the QT,” Schumer said. “Somewhere along the line, someone at the FAA should have had the foresight to realize that New Yorkers would see this stunt and think back to 9/11. There was a breakdown in the system and I am asking the FAA to work quickly to develop ironclad procedure so this type of panic never happens again.”
Just before the workday began on Monday, an airliner and supersonic fighter jet zoomed past the lower Manhattan skyline. Within minutes, startled financial workers streamed out of their offices, fearing a nightmarish replay of Sept. 11. For a half-hour, the Boeing 747 and F-16 jet circled the Statue of Liberty and the Financial District near the World Trade Center site. Offices evacuated. Dispatchers were inundated with calls. Witnesses thought the planes were flying dangerously low.
While the White House has apologized for the incident, Schumer appreciated the White House the apology and the Administration taking responsibility, saying a procedure must be put in place to ensure this type of panic never happens again.
Schumer today asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to develop procedure within the FAA to warn the public when these types of fly-over are set to occur. There would be a wide spread public notice through local media and on government websites at least 48 hours in advance.