Sonic boom heard over England as RAF fighter jets intercept private plane

A sonic boom was heard across eastern England on Tuesday afternoon after two RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a private plane.

The hashtag #sonicboom trended on Twitter on Tuesday after the jets scrambled from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to intercept the plane – which had lost communications and was escorted to London's Stansted Airport.

Flight tracking website recorded a Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 reaching a peak speed of over 1,000 knots (1,150mph) above Ickleton, just south of Cambridge.

A sonic boom is created when an object moves through air faster than the speed of sound, 767mph, which the jet first surpassed near Peterborough.

Sam Harrison captured the sonic boom on their Ring doorbell camera in Hornchurch, east London.

"At first I thought it was either an explosion or an earthquake ... I ran outside expecting to see a lot of smoke," they told the PA news agency.

An RAF spokesperson said: "The RAF can confirm Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this afternoon from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft that had lost communications; subsequently, communications were re-established, the aircraft was intercepted and safely escorted to Stansted.

"The Typhoon aircraft were authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons."

The jets are often deployed to escort aircraft that lose contact with air traffic control or don't respond to communications.