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F-16 escorts Cessna away from Fla. airspace during Obama visit

February 16, 2013|By Marisa Gerber

A military jet and helicopter swooped alongside a small plane Saturday to and escorted it away from a temporary restricted flight zone above Florida’s eastern coast, where President Obama  was spending the holiday weekend with friends, officials said.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mike Humphreys said an F-16 jet and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter intercepted the plane just before noon and forced it to land a few minutes later at Witham Field in Stuart, Fla.

Federal Aviation Administration officials said in a statement that they’re investigating whether the Cessna 152 entered the restricted area above Florida’s Treasure Coast. No other information about the Cessna was immediately released.

A description of temporary flight restrictions posted on the FAA's website said the section of Florida airspace will be closed until Monday for "VIP Movement."

Aboard Air Force One on Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest  responded to a reporter's question about the president's "guy's weekend" by confirming that Obama was looking forward to spending the President’s Day holiday weekend with a group of friends in Florida.

“I’m sure they’ll take advantage of the opportunity to play some golf,” Earnest said.

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