A Boeing 767 plane flying from Israel to the United States went unresponsive over the United Kingdom early Sunday, causing Royal Air Force jets to be scrambled towards it and setting off a sonic boom that sounded throughout London.
The retired El Al plane, which according to the Ynet news site had been sold to a German company, took off from Ben Gurion Airport on its way to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in the US. On the way, around 4 a.m. (UK time), it did not respond to British authorities’ attempt to contact it due to a communications malfunction.
Two Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled from an Royal Air Force base in Coningsby and intercepted the plane, UK media reported. After communications with the aircraft were restored, the flight continued as planned toward the US and the fighter jets returned to their base.
But while the incident ended safely, it definitely didn’t end quietly. The air force planes had been cleared to go faster than the speed of sound on their way to intercept the unresponsive aircraft, setting off a loud bang that woke up many residents of Britain’s capital.
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.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) December 1, 2019
Tel Aviv to Portsmouth, NH with callsign JTN9185, then to Phoenix Goodyear. JTN – Jet Test is a ferrying outfit for large aircraft. N725SH was stored in Tel Aviv and just re-registered last month to Pacific Aircorp (leasing outfit). pic.twitter.com/e8OUgra22A
— Paveway IV (@PavewayIV) December 1, 2019
Many subsequently shared their experience on social media and with UK media, along with videos of the incident in which the sonic boom can be heard.
— Astrolad (@Wolfandskitty) December 1, 2019
Anyone else hear a loud bang and feel the shockwave 4:20am? Heard a loud plane noise soon after ????????♂️ maybe just a sonic boom. Chingford #loudbanglondon
— Logan Dean (@Logankekoa) December 1, 2019
And here's the 767 that lost communication N725SH…. Formerly El Al but looks like now owned by aircraft leasing company. pic.twitter.com/C2S1jHi5ss
— Derek Gibbons (@delgibbons) December 1, 2019
Royal Air Force Typhoons Jets callsign 5EA26 & 5EA27 scrambled because a Boeing 767 N725SH lost communication with air traffic control.@metpoliceuk #NorthLondon @raf @BBCNews pic.twitter.com/SeG6JCAhj5
— ChameleonWebServices (@chameleonweb) December 1, 2019