US & Canada

Small aircraft lands on US Capitol lawn

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBomb disposal expert checks the aircraft

A small aircraft known as a gyrocopter has landed on the west lawn of the US Capitol building.

The operator of the aircraft has been arrested by Capitol police.

The Tampa Bay Times tells the BBC the pilot is Doug Hughes, a Florida post man who wanted to deliver a message about campaign finance reform to Congress.

The airspace around the Capitol and White House in Washington DC is restricted to official aircraft.

Image copyright Tampa Bay Times
Image caption Doug Hughes planned to "deliver the mail" to Congress

US Capitol police said they continued "to investigate with one person detained and temporary street closures in the immediate area".

Emergency vehicles rushed to the area and a robot bomb detector was sent over to the gyrocopter.

Mr Hughes apparently left for the Washington DC area from his home in Ruskin, Florida, last week with his gyrocopter, the Tampa Bay Times wrote.

"As I have informed the authorities, I have no violent inclinations or intent," Mr Hughes wrote on his website.

Image copyright AP

He added: "There's no need to worry - I'm just delivering the mail."

Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House homeland security committee, said that had he made it much closer to the Capitol, officials were prepared to shoot him down.

Elizabeth Bevins, a tourist from Atlanta, said the helicopter flew in at about 30ft (9m) off the ground, and it "just sort of plopped down on the lawn".

An officer was already there with a gun drawn, said John Jewell, 72, from North Carolina.

"He didn't get out until police officers told him to get out. He had his hands up. They snatched him pretty fast."