New York City residents and tourists took to social media in the run-up to Christmas to express their concern over a sight that no one in the Big Apple wants to see — a low-flying plane.
A military plane and two massive helicopters were reportedly circling midtown Manhattan for more than half an hour on Dec. 13, despite the area’s being a no-fly zone, Fox News reported.
But, as it turned out, the aircraft were actually conducting an “emergency relocation” planning mission in case an emergency or attack warranted the evacuation of President-elect Donald Trump.
“Why is this plane circulating so low in Manhattan?! It brings back bad memories,” one Twitter user asked, along with a video of the unsettling sight.
— Erdal Kuyumcu (@Erdalkuyumcu) December 13, 2016
“Does anyone have any idea why there are military planes flying above New York City?” another Twitter user asked.
Does anyone have any idea why there are military planes flying above New York City?
— RichardAmelius (@RichardAmelius) December 13, 2016
The plane, a C-130 search-and-rescue, along with the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, was actually scouting locations around Central Park where a chopper could land near Trump’s home at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and 56th Street, according to DNAinfo New York.
New York officials also confirmed to WABC, according to their Twitter, that the aircraft were part of a “military training exercise.”
.@NYPDnews says the C-130 and helicopters flying around Manhattan are part of a military training exercise. Nothing to worry about.
— ABC7NY NewsDesk (@ABC7NYNewsDesk) December 13, 2016
Sources told DNAinfo that, in the event of an emergency, the president would be escorted by the Secret Service north to the park, where a helicopter would pick him up and take him to Washington, D.C. or a secret government site in Virginia or West Virginia.
However, many confused and understandably nervous New Yorkers thought the officials conducting the exercise should have better informed the public of what was happening.
“They should have told people they were doing recon, and going to fly at low altitudes, instead of keeping it a secret,” a law enforcement source told DNAinfo. “People were scared, and rightly so.”
But even New York City law enforcement were not made aware that the planned exercise included a massive plane until just before the incident, according to U.K. Express. That left city officials unable to properly warn people in the area.
Nonetheless, it’s awesome to see how our military plans for something as crucial as the evacuation of our president-elect in case of an emergency. Hopefully, it will never have to be carried out, but it’s great that they’re ready at a moment’s notice.
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