A report of a low-flying aircraft and a large explosion or boom followed by white smoke last night off Harvieland Road in Bald Knob led emergency responders to conduct an intense search of the area.
This morning, the source of the boom remains a mystery.
The first reports of a loud boom or explosion off O’Nan’s Bend in Bald Knob came in at about 40 minutes before sunset Saturday night, according to Franklin County Fire Chief Kevin Hutcherson.
Franklin County firefighters responded to the call and started a search of the area, Hutcherson said, but did not find anything. Another call came in from an off-duty city police officer who reported that the boom sounded like much more than just fireworks, Hutcherson said, so emergency responders stepped up the search effort to include a helicopter from the Lexington Police Department, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management.
Hutcherson said the helicopter flew a wide radius over the area twice before the search was terminated after about four and a half hours.
Hutcherson also noted that one of the callers said they saw white smoke in the area of the boom, and he said black smoke is typically what witnesses would see if the explosion involves a petroleum byproduct.
“We just wanted to ensure we did our due diligence and covered all of our bases,” Hutcherson said. “There are a million possibilities. But there are no reports of any unaccounted for aircraft.”
Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said a small aircraft flew over the area again this morning, but nothing was discovered.
“There’s a lot of rugged terrain with hills in that area, so we just (wanted) to make sure there (was) nothing there,” Melton said. “As far as we know, there’s not an aircraft missing. We are hoping it was just really loud fireworks.”
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