Two Air Force fighter jets speeding to catch up to a plane violating restrictions related to President Donald Trump’s weekend visit to South Florida caused a sonic boom Friday evening that shook homes, rattled cars and frightened scores of people.
Around 7 p.m., people from Weston to Boca Raton reported hearing and feeling what seemed to be an explosion. Many called 911, or took to Twitter to try and figure out what had just happened.
Was it a gas line? A military test? Aliens?
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Within the hour, law enforcement and fire rescue agencies began pointing to the military. The Broward Sheriff’s Office explained that “the “booming sound heard in Weston and nearby cities was from military planes headed to Palm Beach County.” Coral Springs Fire Rescue said the sound was related to a military exercise.
Around 11 p.m., the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) helped clear things up. In a statement, the agency explained that a pair of Air Force F-15s under its command “intercepted an unresponsive general aviation aircraft near the Palm Beach,” where President Donald Trump is spending most the weekend at Mar-a-Lago.
According to Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS4, the aircraft in question had violated air space restrictions related to the president’s presence in Palm Beach. When the plane failed to respond to communications, NORAD said the jets, flying out of Homestead Air National Guard Base, were forced to hit “supersonic speeds” to catch up, establish communications and get the pilot to begin taking instructions from air traffic controllers.
The speed of the jets cause a sonic boom — a sound associated with the shock waves created when an object travels through the air faster than the speed of sound.