An airplane part fell out of the sky and crashed outside the Maine State Capitol building last week, landing with a loud bang and narrowly missing a police officer, officials said Monday.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what caused the 6 to 7 pound metal sleeve to fall, according to Maine's Bureau of Capitol Police, but it appears to be from a wing flap of a large passenger jet flying over the state from abroad.
No one was hurt when the sleeve-like object smashed into the ground outside the main entrance of the Capitol Friday at about 12:30 p.m., police said. But Craig Donahue, a screener at the building, was walking in about 7 feet away from where the part fell.
“It definitely shocked him,” Capitol Police Chief Matthew Clancy said. “He was walking back to the building and got quite a wakeup call.”
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"That could've hit anybody," said Maine Capitol Police screener Craig Donahue, who witnessed the object hit the ground and roll toward him.
Donahue brought the piece, which he says was not hot to touch right after it fell, into the State House.
That prompted a call to nearby Augusta State Airport and the subsequent notification to the FAA.
"The FAA has launched an investigation while attempting to locate the source of the part which is likely from a large airliner on an international route," police said in a statement. "The FAA made awareness notifications to flights that were over the Capitol area at the time. The source remains unknown and under FAA investigation."
Asked if he feels lucky that he avoided getting struck, Donahue said, "I do, a little bit."
"People are like, 'You should go buy scratch tickets or go buy a lottery ticket,'" Donahue explained. "Why? My luck was not getting hit."
Although he appreciates the hard hat given to him by his coworkers, Donahue also told NECN and NBC10 Boston that he would really like the mystery of where the part actually came from to be solved.
"Hopefully we get an answer soon," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.