A “retired” El Al 767 heading from Tel Aviv to the U.S. caused panic over London, early Sunday morning.
According to multiple reports, the plane did not respond to British authorities’ attempt to contact it due to a communications malfunction, and had lost radio contact over south-east England.
British authorities quickly scrambled two Royal Air Force Typhoons to intercept the aircraft.
The fighters from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire were cleared go supersonic because of the emergency.
The booms were heard in the early hours across London, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
The pilot praised the speed of the RAF response, but said he was shocked when he first saw the fighters.
Steven Giordano told the BBC: “It took us about 10 minutes to realize that the radio wasn’t working and then about 10 minutes to resolve that problem.
“Amazing how fast the RAF reacted. I applaud them for that.”
He said the crew was busy checking frequencies when the radio came back online and had not noticed the RAF fighters.
“I looked left and about had a heart attack when I saw one – so close – strobes on and with blueish ‘glow strips’ along the side of his fuselage.
“We flashed our landing lights to acknowledge and established radio contact on ‘guard’… with the fighters.
“We were already talking to London control at that point.
“They remained with us for about five minutes.”
He said the empty aircraft eventually landed safely in the US.
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
The sonic booms woke people at about 04:20 GMT – with houses shaking and reports of police sirens sounding immediately after.
The Metropolitan Police subsequently confirmed the bang was the result of the RAF aircraft being cleared to go faster than the speed of sound.
“The aircraft was intercepted and its communications were subsequently re-established.”
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
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)