‘Sonic boom’ heard over UK as RAF Typhoons scrambled to intercept private plane
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A huge 'sonic boom' has been heard over the south east of England, leaving millions startled by the loud bang overhead from two RAF fighter jets.
Those living in London, Cambridge, Hertfordshire and Essex reported hearing the massive boom after reports of the fighter jets breaking the sound barrier.
Both jets were believed to have been scrambled to escort an unresponsive aircraft to Stansted Airport.
The plane believed to be under escort was apparently a private aircraft from Nuremberg, Germany, according to flight trackers.
Stansted Airport confirmed "the aircraft landed safely at 13:39 having been escorted by the RAF."
Cambridge City Council tweeted: "If you heard a massively loud bang over Cambridge in the last few minutes, don't panic – apparently it was the sonic boom from a fighter plane breaking the sound barrier!"
Former Cambridge City Councillor and ex Army Reservist Zoe O'Connell said: "Can’t verify it, but looks like that Eurofighter was escorting D-AFAL – a German aircraft behaving oddly.
An image understood to show the aftermath of the fighter jet overhead
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"Now heading to Stansted, which is often used for incidents as it has both long runways and lots of open space you can park a jet safely away from everyone else."
Many took to social media to share their shocked reactions to the incredible noise.
Debbie Read wrote: "I thought my next door neighbours were gonna come flying through the wall. So scary!"
Liam Govey said: "Thought someone from the Primary School had kicked a ball at my window, but it was a sonic boom apparently. Madness."
Another Twitter user wrote: "It appears it might have been a sonic boom from a Typhoon Quick Response Aircraft (if bits of Twitter are to be believed). Heard in Essex, Herts and Cambs as well as East London."
Many reported feeling buildings shake – with one Essex resident in Hornchurch capturing the huge boom on his Ring doorbell.
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Javelin Sam wrote: "Caught the sonic boom on my ring camera!
"HUGE EXPLOSION JUST HEARD IN HORNCHURCH. WTF WAS THAT? ALL THE BIRDS ARE IN THE AIR GOING CRAZY."
Mary O'Donnell told MyLondon that the "earth shook below her" after hearing a loud bang in Ilford.
Another resident in East London said she thought someone had collided with her car, but after looking outside no one was travelling down her road.
Another Twitter user said: "Heard in Hertfordshire near Knebworth too. Whole building shook. Thank you for spotting it. We also had an internet failure about 3 minutes later, went off and came back on again."
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A number of people also spotted and photographed the planes smoke train in the sky moments after the loud bang.
According to an RAF Croningsby information twitter account the sonic boom is likely to have been from a quick reaction alert (QRA).
The airbase is where the RAF stations a number of its Eurofighter Typhoons, Britain's air superiority fighter jet which is also used on interception roles.
Some suggested on social media an erratic flight path of an unresponsive aircraft could have caused the RAF fighter jets to scramble
The RAF has fighter planes on standby at all hours in case a plane threatens British shores, this could be in the form of a commercial plane that has been hijacked or a foreign nation straying into our airspace.
Over the years Russia regularly flies bombers and surveillance planes close to British airspace to test the RAF's readiness, while NATO conducts similar missions close to Russia's airspace.
A sonic boom occurs when a jet travels faster than 767 mph (1234 km/h).
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