Military jets divert three small planes away from President Obama's Treasure Coast golf weekend
Jonathan Mattise, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers
3:38 PM, Feb 17, 2013
7:15 AM, Feb 18, 2013
TREASURE COAST - Military jets have now diverted a total of three small planes that stumbled too close above President Barack Obama's Treasure Coast golf outings.
The latest wayward aircraft ended up in restricted airspace near the Floridian at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. The Cessna plane left the no-fly zone, landed at Okeechobee Airport and was met by local authorities, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mike Humphreys.
F-16s intercepted the first plane, registered with a business at the Plant City Airport, at 11:55 a.m. Saturday and it landed at Witham Field. The Secret Service questioned the pilot, but agency spokesman Brian Leary said "the restricted air space violation does not appear to be of protective interests at this time."
A Coast Guard helicopter and military jets intercepted the second aircraft at 5:09 p.m. But that plane, a two-passenger Lancair 320, left the restricted area and carried on to its destination, Humphreys said. The aircraft was flying from Boca Raton to DeLand, the FAA reported.
The FAA's investigation of all three is ongoing.
The plane from Plant City, intercepted at 11:55 a.m. Saturday, is registered to Mitchell Enterprises Inc. in Plant City, according to the FAA registry.
Martin County Sheriff's deputies stood by with the pilot at the airport until Secret Service agents came to pick him up, said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder. The Secret Service did not specify where they took the pilot.
Jeremiah Long, 35, of Hobe Sound was standing near Galaxy Aviation watching planes. "I saw the planes coming in and the F-16s making sure he was landing. Once the plane was landing, they were constantly circling to make sure he did (stay)."