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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Planes panic New Yorkers

Scott Jagow Apr 27, 2009

Hundreds of workers ran from the New York Mercantile Exchange this morning. Why? Well, what would you do if you worked near the World Trade Center site and looked up and saw fighter jets and a passenger plane flying low?

It turns out the government was conducting a photo op featuring two F-16s and a Defense Department replica of Air Force One., which is a Boeing 747. But no one told the public.

The FAA says it notified local law enforcement, but the NYPD says it was told not to disclose the information.

The Wall Street Journal didn’t seem to know. Some of their staffers left the building immediately. From the AP:

Kathleen Seagriff, a staff assistant in the news rooms, said workers heard the roar of the planes and then saw them from their windows.

“They went down the Hudson, turned around and came back by the building,” she said. “It was a scary scene, especially for those of us who were there on 9/11.”

John Leitner, a floor trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange Building, said about 1,000 people “went into a total panic” and ran out of the building around 10 a.m. after seeing the planes whiz by their building, near the World Trade Center site.

The Journal has a slideshow of photos people sent in this morning. And here’s video apparently taken from the WSJ cafeteria:

New York’s mayor didn’t even know about it, and he made his feelings clear:

I’m sure the FAA will say it had security concerns about letting people know of the flights well ahead of time. But it could’ve told the public this morning instead of insensitively freaking people out.

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