The loud bangs that were heard in the north of England on Monday evening were sonic booms from Typhoon jets scrambled to identify “an unresponsive civilian aircraft”, the RAF has said.
Newcastle Airport confirmed that RAF aircraft escorted a flight operated with an Air France flight code, into the airport earlier this evening:
“We can confirm flight AFR1558 from Paris, Charles De Gaulle was escorted into Newcastle Airport by RAF aircraft having lost communication with Air Traffic Control. The aircraft landed safely at 22:23”
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the explosive noises were caused by the RAF fighter jets breaking the sound barrier.
The BBC reports:
The aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby, in Lincolnshire, and helped guide the aircraft to a safe landing, the air force added.
People reported their houses shaking at about 21:50 BST after hearing what sounded like two loud explosions.
These were later confirmed to have been sonic booms.
An RAF spokesman said: “Quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft were launched today from RAF Coningsby to identify an unresponsive civilian aircraft.
“Communications were re-established and the aircraft has been safely landed.”
Reports suggested the jets had escorted a plane into Newcastle airport after it went off course.
North Yorkshire Police earlier tweeted to reassure people there was no danger, later writing: “Confirmation from RAF that loud bangs heard across the county were sonic booms from RAF Typhoon jets. No cause for concern.”
People took to twitter to try and find out the cause of the unusually loud booms, with some clearly worried that a terrorist attack might have occurred.
Woah, WTF, just heard 2 HUGE *BOOOOOOM*s in North Wakefield. Sonic booms? Explosions? Meteorite?
— Mike Cowgill (@MikeCowgill) May 2, 2016
@EGXCinfo Was that the boom I just heard in the city centre that shook the windows?!
— Lewis Fairfax (@LewisFairfax) May 2, 2016
I think Leeds is under terrorist attack rn ngl
— Sister Yeezus (@FxxlXnTheHill) May 2, 2016
— Kathy Fairclough (@KathyFaircs) May 2, 2016