A sonic boom has been heard over London and Cambridge after two RAF jets were scrambled to intercept a private plane
People say the noise of the sonic boom was like a bomb had gone off as the jets broke the sound barrier to intercept the private plane.
The plane was travelling from Germany before it had lost all communication with air traffic controllers.
The private aircraft was diverted to Stansted Airport by the Typhoon jets, which took off from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
This comes after border officials have confiscated sandwiches and other foodstuffs from drivers arriving in the Netherlands from the UK after Brexit, TV footage has revealed, with one official saying: “WELCOME TO THE BREXIT, SIR. I’M SORRY.”
Several people reported hearing a “massively loud bang” in London, Cambridge and other areas in the South East.
Posting on Twitter, Alistair Broomhead said: “Just heard a loud boom in E12, windows rattled, sounded like an explosion, anyone else in London hear anything? Know what’s going on?”
Twitter User ‘Javelin Sam’, who lives in Essex, tweeted a doorbell webcam video on the social media platform showing just how loud the aircraft’s sonic boom was.
Another user, John Walsh, said: “Sonic boom just now over Cambridge! Blew my window off its casement stay and scared the bloomin’ life out of me and the several pigeons outside!”
Meanwhile, Jenny Hao from London said: “Has there been some sort of explosion in #Deptford? Just felt enormous bang whilst walking along the river in Greenwich and saw smoke.”
Emma Boswell posted: “I was walking through Waltham Abbey when I heard it. Honestly thought a bomb went off but yeah it was a sonic boom in Cambridge!”
Others posted videos of one of the RAF jets flying over Stansted Airport with tracking data that showed the aircraft’s previous supersonic speed.
An RAF spokesperson said: “The RAF can confirm Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this afternoon from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft that had lost communications; subsequently, communications were re-established, the aircraft was intercepted and safely escorted to Stansted.
“The Typhoon aircraft were authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons.”
This comes after Michael Gove has warned that there are “very, very difficult weeks ahead” as England battles to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country, which is being driven by a new COVID variant that has been judged to be between 50% and 70% more transmissible than the previous one.
The jets are often deployed to escort aircraft that lose contact with air traffic control or don’t respond to communications.
The Typhoon can go from brakes off to the speed of Mach 1.5 (1150 mph/1852 kmh) in just two and a half minutes, according to the Royal Air Force. Its top speed is Mach 1.8 (1381 mph/2222 kmh).
The jet, which is based at Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth, can carry air to air missiles, and is also compatible with GPS, as well as laser-guided Paveway bombs.