Friday, April 13, 2012

Big bang theory . . . it was a sonic boom

 THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE has confirmed the loud bang heard across South Warwickshire on Thursday evening was a sonic boom caused by an RAF Typhoon.

Two of the fighter jets had earlier been scrambled from their base in Lincolnshire to intercept a small civilian helicopter flying near Bath, their course taking over the south Midlands on their way to the incident. An MoD spokesman confirmed pilots had been authorized to go supersonic, something they are not normally allowed to do over built-up areas due to the sonic shock-wave created.

The noise prompted a flurry of speculation as to its cause on the social networking site Twitter, with some initially suggesting it was a gas explosion.

Residents in the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire reported hearing what sounded like an explosion at just after 6pm.

The MoD later said that the two RAF Typhoons had taken off following an emergency call, transmitted on the wrong frequency, from a helicopter. The MoD stressed tonight that at no point was there any threat to civilians, and that the Typhoon aircraft, from the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) based at RAF Coningsby, were scrambled after a helicopter pilot accidentally emitted an emergency signal. The Typhoons were already on their way to the helicopter by the time the pilot realized his mistake.

The video above shows one of the Typhoons circulating over Bath after arriving on the scene.

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