Bomb attack, WW3, meteorite?! Sonic boom causes panic in northern England
The mystery began on Monday evening after a series of bangs were heard across towns and cities in the north.
Startled locals from Leeds, York, Harrogate and Doncaster took to social media to unearth the cause of the unusually loud booms, with some clearly worried that a terrorist attack might have occurred.
I think Leeds is under terrorist attack rn ngl— Sister Yeezus (@FxxlXnTheHill) May 2, 2016
Just heard something that sounded like an explosion in #Harrogate !— Henna Khan-Hussain (@HennaK5) May 2, 2016
Others took to Twitter to report the fright they experienced as a result of the odd sounds and some users suggested that the bangs might have been explosions.
@DaveDuracell I've had to change me briefs, thought World War 3 was starting.— Geho Events (@GehoEvents) May 2, 2016
@EGXCinfo Was that the boom I just heard in the city centre that shook the windows?!— Lewis Fairfax (@LewisFairfax) May 2, 2016
Woah, WTF, just heard 2 HUGE *BOOOOOOM*s in North Wakefield. Sonic booms? Explosions? Meteorite?— Mike Cowgill (@MikeCowgill) May 2, 2016
Reports then began to emerge which suggested that the loud boom had been caused by RAF jets scrambling to intercept a civilian plane after air traffic controllers had lost contact with it.
Newcastle Airport has confirmed that “flight AFR1558 from Paris, Charles De Gaulle was escorted into Newcastle Airport by RAF aircraft having lost communication with Air Traffic Control. The aircraft landed safely at 22:23.”
Intercepted plane was Air France flying from Charles de Gaulle to Newcastle. Technical problem. Incident ended— Alistair Bunkall (@AliBunkallSKY) May 2, 2016
Loud bangs heard in Leeds/Doncaster area. Nothing to worry about, WYP are aware and this is believed to be a sonic boom from an aircraft.— WYP Contact Centre (@WYP_CCC) May 2, 2016
An unofficial Twitter account which monitors take-offs from an RAF base in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, identified the planes as Typhoon fighter jets.
Various reports of Sonic Booms coming in from the Doncaster/Leeds areas as the QRA Typhoons went over.— RAF Coningsby Info (@EGXCinfo) May 2, 2016
Both Typhoons may be RTB now, ZJ911 headed in the same direction as ZJ912 is now pic.twitter.com/UlCihBwjt8— RAF Coningsby Info (@EGXCinfo) May 2, 2016
The ear-splitting sounds sparked the creation of a #Leedsbang hashtag, under which people posted some very bizarre theories.
Kaspar Schmeichel plays for Leicester. He did play for, & has a house in, Leeds. He set off a few fireworks, big deal. Chill out #LeedsBang— Joe Townsend (@JoesterT) May 2, 2016
It's not a sonic boom #LeedsBang. It's aliens. Deffo. Pig-piloted aliens.— Bob Phillips (@drbobphillips) May 2, 2016
Meanwhile, some disgruntled locals took to Twitter to complain that the urgent RAF mission was too loud, freaked them out, or woke their kids up.
It is normal for Quick Reaction Alert Typhoons to be given Authority to break the sound barrier over land when scrambled & to be heard!!!— RAF Coningsby Info (@EGXCinfo) May 2, 2016
.@EGXCinfo nice one. If you lads could send a few people round to help us get the kids back to sleep that'd be just super— Anthony O'Connor (@Antcon7062) May 2, 2016
@EGXCinfo and why did they go supersonic - some of us have early trains— Lawrie Phipps (@Lawrie) May 2, 2016