A frequent donor to the NRA and Republican politicians and causes told reporters that he lost several family members when a private jet crashed after flying through restricted airspace Sunday.
John Rumpel told The Washington Post that his “entire family” was on board the Cessna Citation that crashed near Montebello, Virginia, around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Multiple outlets, including The New York Times, reported that Rumpel’s daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, and a nanny went down with the plane, as well as a pilot.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail identified the daughter as Adina Azarian, 49, and reported that the Rumpels had lost another daughter in a scuba diving accident when she was only 19.
The jet was owned by Encore Motors of Melbourne, Florida, which Rumpel and his wife own, according to federal records cited by The Daily Beast.
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It was intercepted by two F-16 jets after it flew into the restricted airspace over Washington, D.C. A total of six jets were scrambled in response to the incursion, but only two “inspected” the private jet, officials of the North American Aerospace Defense Command told the Post.
The scrambling fighters caused a sonic boom that “startled residents across the District, Maryland and Virginia around 3:10 p.m.,” according to the Post.
The jets deployed flares in an attempt to get the attention of the unresponsive Cessna’s pilot, who appeared to have lost consciousness.
The private jet appeared to be flying on autopilot, the Daily Mail reported.
The Cessna was not shot down, according to federal officials.
“We know nothing about the crash,” Rumpel told the Post. “We are talking to the FAA now … I’ve got to keep the line clear.”
Rumpel is a pilot himself, according to the Times.
He told the Times, in a breaking voice, that if the plane had lost cabin pressure, “they all just would have gone to sleep and never woke up.”
“I don’t think they’ve found the wreckage yet,” Rumpel told the Times. “It descended at 20,000 feet a minute, and nobody could survive a crash from that speed.”
“Data from flight tracking service Flightradar24 shows a plane matching the Citation’s description and flight path reaching Long Island before turning around,” the Post reported. “The plane flew directly over Washington before the data ends near Staunton, Va.”
Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told The Post that first responders found no evidence of survivors when they located the crash site that evening.
Rumpel has a history of donations to Republican candidates and causes, including former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Mitt Romney, and numerous state Republican parties, according to Open Secrets.
The National Transportation Safety Board will be leading the continuing investigation into the crash.