The sound of a powerful explosion shook Paris, it turned out to be the sonic boom of a fighter jet
The sound was heard around 12:00 noon and could be heard right across the city to the suburbs. Hundreds of people are asking around on Twitter to ask what is going on.
People living in the central part of Paris also reported feeling the ground shaking. They also saw the windows of the house shaking.
Across town, people stopped on the street and yelled at their neighbors to ask what happened.
Noise was also heard at the Roland Garros stadium, where the pending French Open tennis tournament is taking place.
In a city plagued by repeated terror attacks, including a knife attack outside the former Charlie Hebdo magazine offices six days ago, many people’s minds were initially on the bomb.
But in fact the Paris police have confirmed that the noise was caused by sonic booms from passing fighter jets.
The sound of the explosion occurred as fighter jets broke the sound barrier as they passed through Paris, and police officers have asked people to stop calling them to report the noise.
Paris is usually a no-fly zone for military jets, which is why the noise takes many by surprise. However, Defense Minister Florence Parly confirmed that the fighter jet was taking part in an “interception mission” when it broke the sound barrier.
It was reported that the fighter jets were dispatched to intercept the passenger plane that had lost contact with aviation authorities. Under these circumstances, sending military aircraft to intercept passenger planes is common.
“A Rafale, which intervened to help an aircraft that lost contact, was authorized to break the sound barrier to reach the aircraft experiencing difficulties,” a French Air Force spokesman told AFP on condition of anonymity.
No details were given about the type of passenger aircraft or the nature of the difficulty. The spokesman said the fighter plane fired a sonic blast east of Paris.
France’s DGAC civil aviation authority played down the seriousness of the incident, saying that the plane made by Brazil’s Embraer had experienced “radio frequency loss” while flying over western France but contact was re-established.
In 2019, the French Air Force counted 450 abnormal flight situations, 210 of which required intervention by fighter jets or helicopters.
Those living in rural areas of France where fighter jets flying in the skies are more common, may not panic too much by the noise.
According to the North American Space Agency (NASA); “A sonic boom is the thunder-like sound that people hear on the ground when an aircraft or other type of spacecraft flies overhead faster than the speed of sound or supersonic.”
“Air reacts like fluid to supersonic objects. When the object moves through the air, the air molecules are pushed aside with great force and this forms a shock wave like a boat which creates an arc wave. The bigger and heavier the airplane, the more air it replaces.”
“A supersonic aircraft at (altitude) 50,000 feet can produce a sonic boom cone about 50 miles wide,” NASA continued as quoted by The Local, Thursday (1/10/2020). That’s why so many people around the French capital hear about it.