This is the moment an RAFjet caused a sonic boom, heard throughout central England at around midday on Saturday (March 4). Residents said they were left ‘terrified’ and thought ‘an explosion had gone off’ following the auditory phenomenon.
Initially, people speculated about what the noise could be, with one resident believing it could have been a gas explosion, but the cause has since been confirmed as an RAF Typhoon jet sent to intercept a plane experiencing radio failure.
A spokesperson for the RAF said: “A flight has been diverted to Stansted airport after communications with the pilot had been lost. The plane was escorted to the airport by RAF jets and landed shortly before 12.50pm. Officers are engaging with the pilot and inquiries are ongoing.”
Essex Police later said, following investigation, they were satisfied the loss of communications with the flight heading from Iceland to Nairobi via Southend, was due to “a loss of contact due to an equipment malfunction and nothing of concern”.
A sonic boom, which occurs when an object travels through the air faster than the speed of sound, is similar to a clap of thunder or an explosion. At ground level, an aircraft must be travelling at around 750 mph to create a sonic boom.
A spokesperson for London Southend Airport said: “A dash 8 registration N362PH has caused quite a stir today following a radio fail en route to London Southend Airport. The flight instead flew over Heathrow, City and Stansted; RAF Typhoons were scrambled to make contact and have now escorted the N362PH to London Stansted. According to reports, the ‘sonic boom’ of the Typhoon was heard as far afield as Leicester.”
The noise was so loud, it could be heard in a radius ranging approximately 70 miles. In the wake of the boom, a spokesperson for Leicestershire Police said: "We have received numerous calls in relation to a large explosion sound heard from various parts of the city and county. We like to reassure you that there is no concern however thank you for your immediate response to us."