President Obama’s spare Air Force One and two F-16 fighter jets caused momentary panic in New York City today, when they drifted over skyscrapers in Manhattan for a photo-op.
The planes flew quite close to Ground Zero which frightened many office dwellers. Hundreds evacuated their buildings in fear of a second 9/11 attack. New York City Mayor Bloomberg said the White House provided the city no notification of the event, which if true, was a display of ignorance that caused an outburst from Bloomberg.
Bloomberg called the event “ridiculous and poor judgment.”
The White House did apologize after the planes vacated the surrounding skies after flying close over the Hudson, the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Louis Caldera, director of the White House military office, said state and local officials had been notified of the flight. Bloomberg said no one had notified him of the photo-op.
“I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused,” said Caldera.
Office workers, fearing another disaster, were horribly scared. “I saw everybody running and I ran out too. My heart is still pounding,” said one worker.
“I was there on 9/11, I saw thousands of people die. I don’t like when I am not aware of a military photo op,” said another, according to the AFP.
A local TV station received hundreds of calls about the low-flying government jets.
The public, no doubt, should have been notified. All that happened on 9/11 is still fresh in New Yorkers’ minds (along with most Americans) and the White House should have known low-flying planes would have caused this kind of reaction.