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The Morning Rundown™

Plane that flew over DC crashes, leaving no survivors: June 5 rundown

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A plane unexpectedly flew over Washington, D.C., causing the military to scramble fighter jets. The aircraft crashed Sunday, resulting in the deaths of all on board. And newly released footage has revealed another close call between U.S. and Chinese armed forces, this time coming in the Taiwan Strait. These stories and more highlight the rundown for Monday, June 5, 2023.

No survivors after deadly plane crash in rural Virginia

An unresponsive business plane crashed in rural Virginia Sunday, June 4, resulting in the loss of all passengers aboard the aircraft. The incident unfolded after the plane flew over Washington D.C., prompting the military to deploy fighter jets in response. The sonic boom caused by the fighter jets’ rapid ascent reverberated throughout the D.C. area, capturing the attention of residents.

The fighter jets were dispatched to intercept the Cessna Citation, a private plane that had departed from Elizabethtown, Tennessee, en route to Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. However, to the bewilderment of aviation authorities, the Cessna inexplicably altered its course as it approached Long Island and veered back toward Washington, D.C. It continued on a straight path over the capital before crashing in mountainous terrain near Montebello, Virginia.

The exact cause of the crash remains uncertain, leaving investigators puzzled as to why the aircraft malfunctioned and failed to respond to radio transmissions. Initial reports from the owner of the company with which the plane was registered indicate that at least four individuals were on board the aircraft at the time of the crash.

“[The plane] descended at 20,000 feet a minute, and nobody could survive a crash from that speed,” John Rumpel, who owns Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc, the company with which the crashed plane was registered, said.

A White House official said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the crash. According to Anthony Guglielmi, spokesperson for the U.S. Secret Service, the incident had no impact on the president’s movements Sunday.

Close encounter between U.S., Chinese naval vessels in Taiwan Strait

Newly released footage from the U.S. military depicts a close encounter between a Chinese navy ship and an American destroyer over the weekend in the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. has labeled the incident as an “unsafe maneuver” after the Chinese ship cut in front of the USS Chung-Hoon, forcing the American destroyer to decrease its speed to avoid a potential collision.

According to the Department of Defense, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has accused China of violating maritime rules by their actions in the Taiwan Strait. While the U.S. considers the area to be international waters, China claims it as an “exclusive zone” under its jurisdiction and has justified its actions in the recent encounter.

This latest incident follows a similar occurrence just one week ago when a Chinese fighter jet flew directly in front of a U.S. Air Force aircraft. As tensions between the United States and China continue to escalate, these encounters raise concerns about potential miscalculations or misunderstandings that could further strain relations between the two nations.

Controversial flight sends migrants from Texas to California’s capital

Over the weekend, a group of 16 migrants, hailing from Colombia and Venezuela, unexpectedly found themselves on a flight to Sacramento, California. These migrants had initially entered the United States at the Texas border before being transported to Sacramento, allegedly with the assistance of the state of Florida, according to California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta.

“Human trafficking is not only despicable; it’s a felony,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement. “I urge the appropriate authorities to investigate how 16 vulnerable people were lured to travel from El Paso, Texas, to Sacramento. Whoever is behind this must answer the following: Is there anything more cruel than using scared human beings to score cheap political points?”

California officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, have openly criticized Florida for what they have labeled an “unannounced flight” transporting more than a dozen migrants to a location thousands of miles away from where they originally entered the country. Bonta even went as far as calling the migrant flight a “state-sanctioned kidnapping.”

The situation has prompted an investigation by California into the flight to determine if any civil or criminal violations occurred. Florida previously faced a similar backlash in September, when 50 migrants were sent to Martha’s Vineyard, another Democratic-leaning state.

Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that allocated $12 million in state funds for the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program, further expanding the state’s initiative that relocates migrants to destinations that have sanctuary policies in place. Under this new law, the DeSantis administration is now able to transport migrants elsewhere from any state in the country, not just from Florida.

Russian forces repel alleged major offensive by Ukrainian troops

Russia’s defense ministry has announced that they successfully thwarted a large-scale offensive attack by Ukrainian forces. According to the ministry, more than 250 Ukrainian troops lost their lives, and their military equipment was destroyed during a failed five-pronged assault in the Donetsk region. The Russian military claims to have destroyed 16 tanks and numerous combat armored vehicles belonging to the Ukrainian side.

While these reports from the Russian authorities are yet to be confirmed by Ukrainian officials, they have raised questions about whether Ukraine has initiated the long-anticipated counteroffensive. The alleged attack occurred in a region that has been a focal point of the ongoing conflict between Russia-backed separatists and the Ukrainian government.

Train collision in India claims the lives of 275 people

A train collision in India on Friday resulted in the loss of 275 lives, making it the deadliest train crash the country has witnessed in decades. The incident occurred when a passenger train collided with a freight train, causing the passenger train to derail and collide with another passenger train traveling in the opposite direction on parallel tracks.

Amid the wreckage, authorities have been working tirelessly to identify the victims. So far, only 45 bodies have been successfully identified.

Initial investigations into the crash point to potential signal failures as a significant factor. Authorities suspect that a change in the signaling system may have led to one of the high-speed trains being directed onto the wrong track, ultimately resulting in the collision.

Rail companies scrutinized as White House funds safety upgrades

Railroad companies in the United States have faced increased scrutiny from lawmakers following a series of high-profile derailments earlier this year. In response, the Biden administration has announced a grant aimed at improving safety measures in the country’s rail system. The grant, totaling over half a billion dollars, will be allocated towards making critical changes at dangerous railroad crossings.

The $570 million grant will primarily focus on the construction of bridges and underpasses at approximately 36 crossing sites deemed particularly hazardous. According to reports, over 2,000 collisions are reported at railroad crossings annually, with last year alone witnessing 250 deaths resulting from car-train collisions.

Funding for this initiative will be drawn from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed into law last year. The move comes as part of a broader effort to address safety concerns and modernize the U.S. rail system. The recent string of major derailments has raised concerns about the overall safety operations of rail companies. Lawmakers have called for stricter regulations and increased investments in infrastructure to mitigate potential risks and prevent accidents.

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