People woken by loud bang of RAF sonic boom

1 December 2019, 08:20

The RAF confirmed the loud noise was caused by an unresponsive aircraft
The RAF confirmed the loud noise was caused by an unresponsive aircraft. Picture: PA

By Sylvia DeLuca

A loud sonic boom is reported to have "shook houses" and woken hundreds of people across London and parts of the northern home counties.

People took to social media to report hearing an "explosion" at around 04:20 GMT on Sunday morning.

The loud bang was heard in areas ranging from Bedfordshire, Essex, Welwyn Garden City, Stevenage, Hertford, Cambridge and parts of north London.

An investigation was launched in the early hours of the morning, with the Met Police later explaining: "The loud bang heard throughout north London and surrounding areas was the result of a sonic boom from RAF planes. There is no cause for concern."

The RAF clarified that the noise was the result of two Royal Air Force Typhoons, which launched from Coningsby in Lincolnshire to investigate an unresponsive aircraft.

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue said it had received a large number of calls from across the county regarding a "large explosion sound."

A Twitter user captured the sound that he heard in North West London.

One user living in Cambridge, 60 miles away from London, confirmed that he had also been woken by the noise.

On man told LBC: "I had just gone off to sleep, I'd literally just nodded off, and there was this bang....I can't explain was absolutely horrific."

An RAF spokesperson said: "Two Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Coningsby were scrambled at 0409 this morning, as part of the UK's Quick Reaction Alert procedures, after an aircraft lost communications in UK airspace.

"The aircraft was intercepted and its communications were subsequently re-established.

"The Typhoons are returning to their base."

A sonic boom is the loud explosive noise caused by the shock waves created when an object travelling through the air travels faster than the speed of sound.

The noise is often heard as a huge thunderclap.

RAF jets are only given permission to go supersonic in emergencies, such as when they need to intercept another aircraft.