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Pilot circling US city threatens to crash on Walmart

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By James FitzGerald

BBC News

Stock image of a Walmart shop signImage source, Reuters

Image caption,

The shop in question has been evacuated, say local police

A pilot is threatening to deliberately crash a small aeroplane into a Walmart shop as they circle above the US city of Tupelo, Mississippi, police say.

The Walmart and another nearby store have been evacuated and citizens have been asked to avoid the area.

Local police have warned that the aircraft could pose a danger to an area wider than just the city.

They say that they have been in contact with the pilot directly as they monitor the “dangerous situation”.

Details of their conversation or the pilot’s identity were not immediately made public.

The police department was notified at around 05:00 local time on Saturday (10:00 GMT) of a plane flying above the city, a statement said.

It added that the plane was possibly a “King Air type” – referring to a small utility plane.

The pilot was said to have made contact with E911 – an emergency number – and proceeded to make their threat to intentionally collide with the Walmart.

Law enforcement and emergency managers were “closely tracking this dangerous situation,” tweeted State Governor Tate Reeves.

Leslie Criss, a local journalist, told The Associated Press news agency she had never seen anything like it in the city, and that it was a “scary way to wake up on a Saturday morning”.

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