Sonic boom as Typhoon fighter jet breaks sound barrier over Bristol
A loud bang heard in Bristol last night was caused by a sonic boom from a Typhoon fighter jet as it responded to an emergency, the MoD have said.
The noise as the aircraft broke through the sound barrier just after 6pm, creating a high-energy shockwave, sparked a deluge of calls to emergency services.
It was also heard in Bath, Somerset, the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.
Mystery surrounded the source of the noise for more than an hour, with speculation over what caused it ranging from a large explosion to a tremor under the earth.
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However, the Ministry of Defence and police said two supersonic aircraft were responding to an emergency call from a helicopter flying over the Bath area.
An Mod spokesperson said that the civilian helicopter had been emitting the sort of emergency signal which could indicate an aircraft had been hijacked.
The signal turned out to be a false alarm and police said the chopper had a faulty transponder.
He added: "We can confirm that a small civilian aircraft was transmitting inadvertently on an emergency frequency at approximately 6.10pm. Two Typhoons from the Quick Reaction Alert responded accordingly and authorisation was given from them to go supersonic which resulted in the sonic boom. There was no actual threat to the civilian aircraft and they soon rectified their mistake."
A statement from Avon and Somerset Police said: “We received reports of a loud bang in various locations in the force area at about 6.15pm.
“It is believed that this was from a sonic boom from jet aircraft passing over the area. The jets were responding to reports of a civilian helicopter that had a faulty transponder; the helicopter completed its journey and landed safe and well outside the force area with no issues.”
• Did you hear the sonic boom last night or have pictures of the fighter jets? Email Abigail.email@example.com.
Footage shot by Ric McLaughlin