A day after his government plane sparked panic and fury when it flew over lower Manhattan as part of a photo shoot, US President Barack Obama apologised for the gaffe, calling it a mistake and adding, "it will not happen again".
AFP - A day after his spare plane sparked panic and outrage when it buzzed lower Manhattan for a photo shoot, US President Barack Obama apologized Tuesday for what he called a "mistake" that won't be repeated.
The search for the perfect picture beside famous New York landmarks backfired Monday as frightened office workers fled their buildings in fear of a new 9/11 and triggered an angry outburst from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said he had not been warned about the mission.
"It was a mistake, as was stated ... and it will not happen again," Obama told reporters at the Federal Bureau of Investigation before talks with FBI director Robert Mueller.
The White House military office apologized late Monday after the 30-minute incident in which the customized presidential Boeing 747 -- accompanied by two military fighter jets -- buzzed the island of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty in the Hudson River.
The man in the hot seat -- Louis Caldera, director of the White House military office -- personally apologized for approving the mission over New York city.
"I take responsibility for that decision," Caldera said.
But there was no immediate word on whether he would be sacked or otherwise sanctioned for his actions.
Stunned office workers who failed to spot the presidential markings feared a repeat of the September 11, 2001 attacks in which two hijacked airliners smashed into the World Trade Center towers, killing almost 3,000 people.
Bloomberg insisted that no one had told him of the visitors to New York's skies, and denounced the flight as deeply insensitive to New Yorkers still reeling from the worst acts of terrorism on US soil.
"Why the Defense Department wanted to do a photo op right around the site of the World Trade Center catastrophe defies imagination," he said Monday.
Date created : 2009-04-28