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Page last updated at 21:27 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 22:27 UK

Aide resigns over NY plane scare

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Presidential jet and fighter plane over New York - first broadcast April 2009

A senior White House aide has quit over his role in a presidential plane's low-level fly-past that caused panic among New York office workers.

The White House said President Barack Obama had accepted the resignation of military office director Louis Caldera.

The photo opportunity fly-past prompted the evacuation of a number of offices.

Correspondents say it revived memories of the September 2001 attacks in which hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center towers.

The half-hour fly-past by a presidential jet and a fighter plane escort on April 27 did not involve Mr Obama.

'Distraction'

The US Air Force has estimated that it cost $328,835 (£215,900) to stage, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Mr Caldera said in his resignation letter that the controversy over the flight had made it impossible for him to continue in his job, and had become a "distraction" for the president.

Pentagon officials said the fly-past had been co-ordinated with city and state authorities, though no general public notification was issued in advance.

At the time, Mr Caldera said that though local authorities had been warned, it was "clear that the mission created confusion and disruption".

"I apologise and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused," he said.

President Obama has ordered a review of the military office to make sure such an incident is not repeated, the White House said.

The Boeing 747 involved in the fly-past is one of the planes which are called Air Force One when the US president is aboard.



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