01 December 2019 10:39
Get the biggest Daily stories by email Subscribe Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email A huge noise awoke people from their beds around 4.17am this morning, causing them to call 999. It has now been confirmed as a sonic boom by the Met Police and the RAF, as planes were scrambled for a job. The noise was heard mostly across London and Hertfordshire, but even people as far as Harlow, Romford, Chingford and Brentwood reported hearing the loud sound. Around 4.35am (Sunday, December 1) Herts Fire Control tweeted: "We are currently receiving a large number of calls from across the whole of Hertfordshire regarding a large explosion sound. We are investigating." People shared their panic on social media, with one claiming they "sat bolt upright in bed." The Met Police tweeted at 5am to clarify: "The loud bang heard throughout north London and surrounding areas was the result of a sonic boom from RAF planes.
There is no cause for concern." The sonic boom was caused when RAF jets allegedly responded to a 7700 'Squawking Request". According to a pilot, this means: "It is nearly the equivalent of an "SOS" and perhaps even a "Mayday" radio transmission. It is something that immediately alerts all air traffic controllers on their radar screen that this aircraft is in dire straits, is encountering a serious emergency, and desperately needs immediate assistance if possible." However, according to The Mirror, the RAF has not shared the reason why the jets were scrambled. According to a Twitter account which monitors the armed forces, Mil Radar, the plane was needed for an 'unresponsive aircraft'. It said: "At approx 0400z Royal Air Force Typhoons callsign 5EA26 & 5EA27 launched from RAF Coningsby to an unresponsive aircraft23101137" Why did the jets create a sonic boom?
Previously, the RAF has explained: "Supersonic travel (Mach 1.0+) is sometimes necessary when Quick Reaction Alert is launched. "If there is a threat in the air, it's imperative for our Typhoons to get there as quickly as possible. "It doesn't necessarily have to be low to be loud. Breaking the sound barrier displaces a lot of air. If you've ever seen a typhoon at an airshow you'll know how loud they are, even below Mach 1." Mach is used to measure airspeed, and Mach 1.0+ means the aircraft was moving at the speed of sound. Mach 2 would mean it would be going twice the speed of sound. A loud sonic boom was heard over north London in the morning hours of Sunday, December 1. Around 4am GMT, witnesses flooded to Twitter and social media to report an explosion-like bang from North London to Hertfordshire. The Ministry of Defence has since confirmed the explosion was triggered by RAF planes flying past the capital. The MoD said two Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled around 4.09am GMT. The jets were launched from RAF Coningsby to intercept an aeroplane not responding to traffic control. The MoD said: "Two Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Coningsby were scrambled at 0409 this morning, as part of the UK's Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) procedures, after an aircraft lost communications in UK airspace. "The aircraft was intercepted and its communications were subsequently re-established. The Typhoons are returning to their base." READ MORE: London sonic boom: People woken and 'scared' by terrifying explosion