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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 January 2021

Sonic boom sparks alarm as British fighter jets escort plane to airport

Private aircraft was guided to London's Stansted Airport after communications were lost

British fighter jets caused alarm as they broke the sound barrier while rushing to escort a private aircraft to London's Stansted Airport after it lost communications with the ground on Tuesday.

People from London to Cambridge, about 105 kilometres north of the capital, reported hearing what sounded like an explosion or large blast, which shook houses.

"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," a Royal Air Force spokesman said.

"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."

Stansted, London's third biggest airport, is to the north-east of the capital. It confirmed the private jet landed safely just before 1.40pm.

Updated: January 12, 2021 11:38 PM

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