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  • Writer's pictureNEMM

Town shakes as sonic boom heard over Melton as RAF scramble to problem aircraft

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

Residents were shocked to hear a loud explosion on Saturday lunchtime with many residents taking to social media to ask friends what the cause was.

A loud bang was heard in Melton Mowbray around 12:09 on Saturday lunchtime causing the ground and local houses to shake. There was also shock among some residents thinking an earthquake had struck or a road accident.

The cause is believed to be a 'sonic-boom'. A sonic boom is a shockwave that is produced by an aircraft or other object flying at a speed equal to or exceeding the speed of sound and that is heard on the ground as a sound like a clap of thunder.

When an aircraft travels at subsonic speed, the pressure disturbances, or sounds, that it generates extend in all directions.

There were reports that it may have been Typhoon fighter jets scrambling from RAF Coningsby to help a Dash 8 aircraft that had radio failure and was heading to London.

A recording circulating online indicated that the person heard a warning to the cockpit while scanning radio frequencies using a CB radio.

The recording suggests that the RAF pilots are speaking to the aircraft saying they were instructed by HM Government of the United kingdom to say that if they do not follow instructions they will be shot down.

The voice recording appears to show RAF pilots speaking to the problem aircraft. Video: Facebook/NEMM

A Leicestershire Police spokesperson said: 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."

The RAF confirmed the incident in a tweet on Saturday. They said: "Typhoon aircraft from Royal Air Force Coningsby offered assistance to a civilian aircraft and were authorised to fly supersonic earlier today.”

Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service control also confirmed that they had received numerous calls regarding the loud noise.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: "Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby offered assistance to a civilian aircraft and were authorised to fly supersonic."

The MoD said it always has jets under a 'quick reaction alert' which respond to any aircraft that cannot be identified or is not communicating with either civilian or military air traffic control.

Typhoon fighter squadrons are positioned at RAF Coningsby near Lincoln, RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and in the Falkland Islands.

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: "A flight has been diverted to Stansted Airport after communications with the pilot had been lost.

The plane, which had been flying from Iceland to Nairobi via Southend was escorted to the airport by RAF jets and landed shortly before 12.50pm today (Saturday 4 March).

Two people - a pilot and co-pilot – were on board.

Officers engaged with them and carried out enquiries are satisfied there was a loss of contact due to an equipment malfunction and nothing of any concern.

The plane and those on board have now been released to continue their journey."

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