A hobbyist accidentally crashed a drone onto the White House grounds early Monday, prompting a lockdown, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Secret Service Agents.
The incident delivered a wake-up call over the potential terrorism threat of unmanned aircraft.
The operator of the two-foot drone called the Secret Service after the incident was widely reported and has been cooperating with agents, the agency said.
The Secret Service said the crash appears to have “occurred as a result of recreational use of the device”, but officials said the agency is still following up on other leads.
The president and First Lady were in India at the time of the incident. The couple’s school-age daughters had remained behind in Washington, where they are usually cared for by Michelle Obama’s mother, who also lives in the White House.
The White House press secretary, speaking in India, said the device posed no ongoing threat.
A uniformed Secret Service officer heard the four-rotored, commercially available drone as it buzzed by at a low altitude shortly after 3 a.m., the report said.
It eventually crashed on the southeast side of the White House complex.
The Secret Service said it is working to identify where the drone came from. There was no camera attached to the device, a law-enforcement official said.
For security reasons, the federal government bans flying drones and model aircraft over Washington. A person knowingly violating that ban faces up to a year in prison.
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