A Cessna 172 plane was stolen from a flight school in Thunder Bay, ON, Canada earlier today and illegally crossed into U.S. airspace. The plane entered the U.S. south of Thunder Bay and into Wisconsin, continuing on into Illinois where it has been intercepted by a pair of U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighters.
The F-16 pilots used hand signals to try and order the Cessna pilot to follow them to a nearby airport but, while acknowledging that he was aware of the fighter jets, he did not respond to the signals.
According to this BNO News story:
“A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security refused to say if the incident could be terrorism related, and referred all inquiries to the FAA.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security have taken precautions in case this is a terrorist incident, including briefly evacuating the Wisconsin Capitol building.
The Cessna 172 was believed to be carrying a full tank of fuel when it left the airport in Thunder bay. The aircraft is a four-seater with a range of about 790 miles, top speed of 141 miles per hour and can stay in the air for up to 8 hours at a time.
At this time, it is believed the plane is still airborn.