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Florida man arrested after landing small helicopter on US Capitol grounds

Updated: 2015-04-16 10:05

Florida man arrested after landing small helicopter on US Capitol grounds

A Capitol Police officer flashes a thumbs up after inspecting the small helicopter a man landed on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington, April 15, 2015. [Photo/IC]

WASHINGTON - A Florida man was arrested after he landed his small helicopter on the west lawn of the US Capitol on Wednesday, police said, violating restricted airspace and causing a security scare.

Doug Hughes, 61, a US Postal Service mail carrier from Ruskin, Florida, has been jailed and is facing undisclosed charges after he flew his "gyro copter" over Washington and landed on the Capitol grounds about 1:30 p.m., the US Capitol Police said in a statement.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Hughes planned to make the flight to draw attention to the issue of campaign finance reform. He wrote letters addressed to each member of Congress calling for changes, the paper said.

Security rules prohibit aircraft from flying in the area of the Capitol and the White House without permission.

A bomb squad investigated the aircraft and found nothing hazardous, the Capitol Police statement said.

A US Postal Service spokeswoman confirmed that the person in custody was a rural letter carrier, but did not give a name.

Streets near the Capitol were temporarily closed while police investigated and removed the aircraft, which resembled a small open-air helicopter with a single rotor on top.

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