A sonic boom that was heard over large parts of central England was caused by Royal Air Force fighters scrambled to escort a civilian plane.
The aircraft, a Dash 8 airliner registered N362PH, had become unresponsive over St Albans in Hertfordshire, which raised concerns.
Two Eurofighter Typhoons were sent from RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire to intercept the Dash 8 which only had two people on board.
The commercial plane was travelling from Iceland to Nairobi via London Southend Airport (SEN)
just after midday on Saturday, March 4, 2023. Upon intercept, the Typhoons escorted the aircraft as it diverted to Stansted Airport.
Essex Police tweeted: “A flight’s been diverted to #StanstedAirport after losing communications. The plane, heading from Iceland to Nairobi via Southend, was escorted into the airport around 12.50pm.”
Some news websites also added that airspace above London had been temporarily closed.
Police later reported that they were “satisfied there was a loss of contact due to an equipment malfunction & nothing of concern.”
Around the same time the RAF jets were dispatched, members of the public turned to social media to report hearing a large bang.
Police forces in central England also reported an increase in calls to its emergency services.
In a statement from the Ministry of Defence the department appeared to confirm the source of the loud bang was RAF fighter jets.
“Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby offered assistance to a civilian aircraft and were authorised to fly supersonic,” a spokesperson said.
Leicestershire Police also reassured local residents in a message which read: “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.”
Sonic boom is created when planes fly faster than the speed of sound, which is around 761mph (1,225km/h).