Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 18:51 UK

Plane sparks scare in Washington

No-fly zone

A stray plane sparked a security scare in Washington when it flew into restricted airspace.

The US secret service briefly evacuated parts of the White House and the US Capitol, as the alert level was raised from green to orange.

Two F-16 fighter jets and two Coast Guard helicopters were scrambled within minutes, according to AP news agency.

Authorities gave the "all clear" after about 10 minutes, having contacted the pilot and ordered him to turn around.

The single-engine Cessna later landed safely at an airport in the Washington area.

The security scare prompted the US Secret Service to temporarily clear the north lawn of the White House and order a brief recess of the Senate at the US Capitol buildings.

Authorities have been on high alert for planes that violate the restricted airspace above major government buildings in Washington since the attacks on 11 September 2001.

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