Suffolk was shaken by sonic booms from RAF Typhoon fighter jets this morning as they were scrambled in response to a suspected security alert on-board a passenger airliner bound for Luton.

The booms, which happened at around 8.30am this morning, shook houses and could be heard all around the county, with many residents taking to social media platforms such as Nextdoor, Facebook and Twitter to discuss the loud bangs.

Suggestions about the cause of the bangs ranged from ‘factory explosion’ and ‘gas explosion’ to ‘sonic boom.’

Suffolk Police posted on Twitter that they’d received a number of calls from concerned residents about the ‘loud bangs,’ later confirming on Twitter, at 9.03am, that the bangs were indeed a sonic boom:

“We can now confirm that the loud bangs heard across #Suffolk this morning was a sonic boom produced by military aircraft.”

It is thought that two RAF Typhoon jets from RAF Coningsby were scrambled towards a passenger airliner circling over the North Sea, after reports of a suspicious package on-board.

Essex Police later confirmed, in a statement on social media, that a passenger plane had been intercepted and diverted to Stansted Airport: “We have now completed enquiries after a plane was diverted to Stansted Airport and have not found anything suspicious.

“A Ryanair flight from Kaunas, Lithuania to Luton Airport has been diverted to #Stansted Airport following reports of a security alert.

“The plane landed safely at around 8.55am and passengers were safely brought off.

“Officers have carried out enquiries but nothing suspicious has been found.

“The runway was closed while the plane landed but was re-opened a short time later and services at the airport are running as usual.

“Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown said: ‘We take all intelligence received regarding potential threats to public safety very seriously. The safety of the public is paramount. I want to thank Stansted Airport and all the passengers and crew involved for their patience and co-operation.’

The passengers on the Ryanair flight will be transported to Luton Airport.”

Sonic boom

A sonic boom is the sound of shock waves that occur as a result of an object travelling faster than the speed of sound.

An RAF spokesperson told the EADT: “The RAF can confirm Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this morning from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft.

“The aircraft was safely escorted to Stansted Airport.

“The Typhoon aircraft were authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons, any inconvenience caused to local residents is regretted.”

The sonic booms were so loud that even a seismic activity station, based at Elmsett, picked them up, with meteorologist and BBC Look East weather presenter Dan Holley tweeting a snapshot of the British Geological Survey’s Seismogram:

The British Geological Survey later tweeted: “RAF confirmed Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft launced from RAF Coningsby at around same time.”

Suffolk Now, Archant’s YouTube channel, later published footage of the RAF Typhoon jets flying over Suffolk, with images of the jets escorting a Ryanair flight to Stansted.