- Nashville residents panicked on Friday after a low-flying military plane circled the downtown core, appearing to narrowly miss buildings.
- Residents took to social media Friday afternoon, complaining they had received no warning of the flyover and that the plane was far too close to buildings and landmarks.
- The flyover was reportedly a training exercises for Governor-elect Bill Lee’s inauguration – but the inaugural flyover has already been canceled due to weather.
A low-flying military plane zoomed between buildings in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, for roughly half an hour on Friday, panicking residents who said they had no warning of the flyover, and feared it might strike a building.
Residents took to social media Friday afternoon, sharing photos and videos of the sight. The large, dark grey plane could be seen circling the city’s skyline, flying just over the tops of buildings and past office windows.
But local news outlets reported that the flyover was just part of a training exercise ahead of Governor-elect Bill Lee’s inauguration on Saturday.
Plane flying close to buildings in Nashville ✈️ pic.twitter.com/ftO2SatybS
— Toby Lemley (@TobyLemley) January 18, 2019
— Mallory Riggins (@MalloryRiggins) January 18, 2019
One Nashville resident, Madison Smith, told INSIDER she works on the 16th floor of the Fifth-Third Bank building in downtown and her colleagues phoned the police, and later evacuated the building, when they realised the plane kept weaving through the city’s downtown core.
“You kept seeing it circle around downtown,” she said. “So it came back by our building a second time, and the whole building shook.”
Smith said she and her colleagues realised it was a military plane, due to the size and colour, and figured it must have been some sort of government operation. But they couldn’t help but think of 9/11, she said.
“What if something malfunctioned and the wing came into one of our buildings? That wasn’t far-fetched because of how low it was,” she said. “Definitely people were concerned. I was concerned. My colleagues were concerned.”
Nashville residents complained on Twitter that the plane was flying too low over the city, and appeared to just barely miss certain buildings and landmarks.
Seems like people in Nashville were NOT prepared for a military plane to fly right through downtown. pic.twitter.com/tfHO5i24I1
— Bob Bryan (@RobertBryan4) January 18, 2019
— Matt Norris (@matt_norris12) January 18, 2019
People in the videos can be heard exclaiming and cursing as the plane draws closer. One person can even be heard speculating which buildings the plane might strike.
But the test run may all have been for nothing – The Tennessean reported that Saturday’s inaugural flyover has already been canceled due to weather concerns.
Smith said the idea was “ridiculous in the first place,” adding that she hoped Lee would release a statement reassuring the residents who panicked.
“Congrats on your inauguration, I don’t think that’s a great start. Just to frighten your people straight off the bat,” she said. “A military operation in a city is just striking to me. Especially to have it all for nothing, I wouldn’t have wanted him to do it in the first place. Let’s just have a parade.”
Lee’s transition team did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.
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