Cessna plane escorted by F-16 fighter jets away from restricted airspace near President Obama

( Video courtesy of WPTV YouReporter Steve Simpson)

TREASURE COAST - A small plane in the flight zone restricted during President Obama's visit was escorted away by two military aircraft shortly after noon today.

Resident Isaac Cubillios saw the 12:05 p.m. interception from his home and said:

A small Cessna was flying east over the Florida Turnpike at Becker Road had entered a restricted zone where President Barack Obama is staying nearby.

"The small aircraft was intercepted by a Coast Guard helicopter, which was flying along side it. Two Air Force F-16 fighter jets circled the Cessna at a low altitude shaking the nerves of residents in the Southbend Lakes neighborhood below.

The Cessna began to turn north, away from the Floridian where Obama is staying. One jet was seen flying behind the civilian aircraft while the second one continue circling over Port St. Lucie," said Cubillos, a Treasure Coast newspaper freelance writer.

Resident Suzanne Eovaldi emailed: "The sonic booms over my home in St. L. West about 12:10 p.m. were awful." The sounds were "very frightening, very LOUD."

"I was outside on my pool deck and had to come in the house. I assume the plane fly overs breaking the sound barrier had something to do with the President's visit in Palm City. I don't know what else it could have been," Eovaldi wrote.

Earlier this morning, eight protesters, left the Floridian, where President Barack Obama is golfing, after a brief gathering at the front gate.

They carried signs, including "Obama supports abortion."

Earlier this morning, the exclusive resort was quiet with the only hint being security outside.

Treasure Coast journalists were seeing some golfers on the course at Floridian.

Law enforcement agencies had said there were no reports of trouble from President Barack Obama's arrival into the Floridian last night.

Master Sgt. Frank Sabol of the Port St. Lucie Police Department agreed everything was quiet into mid-morning.

"I guess everything went smoothly last night on this end," Sabol said.

Martin County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Christine Christofek hadn't heard anything.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Matthew Barmberger in Fort Pierce said there's nothing to report.

Waters looked quiet about one-fourth mile offshore, according to boaters.

Staff reporters Jonathan Mattise, Ed Killer and Sam Wolfe contributed to this report.

 


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