Mystery ‘sonic boom’ that left homes shaking was caused by fighter jet

The Swiss Air Force says one of its aircraft was behind the boom heard in the North East of England

Laurie Churchman,Liam James
Friday 19 November 2021 11:56
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<p>The Swiss Air Force F-18 Hornet aircraft</p>

The Swiss Air Force F-18 Hornet aircraft

A mystery ‘sonic boom’ that shook buildings in North Yorkshire – and was initially mistaken for an earthquake –was caused by a Swiss fighter jet.

The Swiss Air Force confirmed one of its F-18 Hornet aircraft was behind the shockwave felt over a wide area at 15:50pm Wednesday.

Some residents in North Yorkshire feared there had been an earth tremor. One described how her “kids froze” at the sound and felt the vibrations running through their bodies.

Officials said the plane had been taking part in “routine operational training” and apologised for any inconvenience.

A Swiss Air Force detachment is currently conducting training missions at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire.

The flight took place over the North Sea and the sound was heard in parts of North Yorkshire and East Cleveland. There were reports from Redcar, Malton, and Whitby.

A spokeswoman said sonic booms from aircraft out at sea are not typically heard on land, but “climatic and wind conditions” may have been behind the unusual range of the sound.

Sonic booms are the result of shockwaves from objects travelling through the air faster than the speed of sound.

Phillip Trumper, a councillor from Whitby said he could “see the windows vibrating”.

“The house shook,” he told PA the news agency. “It sounded like something really heavy falling over in the house next door.”

One resident, Dr Amy-Jane Beer, tweeted: “Felt in the air and all through our bodies near Castle Howard.

“Kids froze, dog ran for her life. Former now thrilled, latter hiding under my bed.”

The British Geological Survey initially received reports of a suspected earthquake.

But, following analysis, seismologists determined it to have been the result of a “sonic event” as opposed to movements in the ground.

David Gibbs, a geography professor at the University of Hull, said: “Today’s excitement - earth tremor this afternoon while at home, estimated 4.6 (not by me…)”

A sonic boom heard over London and the east of England earlier this year was later found to have been caused by RAF aircraft flying to intercept a private plane.

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