WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama Tuesday said Monday's low flyover of a Boeing 747 above the New York City skyline, which frightened workers and residents into evacuating buildings, had been a "mistake."
"It was a mistake," he told reporters. "It was something we found out about along with all of you. And it will not happen again."
The huge aircraft, which functions as Air Force One when the president is aboard, was taking part in a classified, government-sanctioned photo shoot, the Federal Aviation Administration told CNN.
"Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision," said Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office. "While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption."
Witnesses reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty before flying up the Hudson River. It was accompanied by two F-16s.
Two officials told CNN the White House Military Office was trying to update its file photos of Air Force One. The officials said the president was angry when he learned Monday afternoon about the flight, which sparked fear in the New York-New Jersey area.
'The president was furious about it," one of the officials told CNN.
The incident outraged many New Yorkers, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"First thing is, I'm annoyed - furious is a better word - that I wasn't told," he said, calling the aviation administration's decision to withhold details about the flight "ridiculous" and "poor judgment."