Flight from Tel Aviv causes London panic as scrambled jets set off sonic boom
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Flight from Tel Aviv causes London panic as scrambled jets set off sonic boom

RAF planes sent to check US-bound retired El Al aircraft after it briefly goes unresponsive over British airspace; bang wakes many residents of capital at 4 a.m.

Illustrative - A British Royal Air Force Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft. (Courtesy - Royal Air Force)
Illustrative - A British Royal Air Force Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft. (Courtesy - Royal Air Force)

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.

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.

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