A loud explosion-like noise in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area was caused by a sonic boom of Military aircraft scrambling to reach a Cessna and its unresponsive pilot before the private plane crashed, killing all four on board.
The city of Annapolis’ Office of Emergency Management said the explosion heard Sunday was the result of a flight authorized by the Department of Defense (DOD).
The noise was heard as far east as the Eastern Shore of Maryland and as far west as Manassas, Virginia.
The Annapolis office reassured residents that the “loud boom heard across the DMV” area resulted from an authorized DOD flight, adding that the “flight caused a sonic boom.”
Officials in Bowie, Maryland, confirmed that the sonic boom came from an aircraft at Joint Base Andrews.
Two F-16s from the Air National Guard base near Atlantic City, New Jersey, and two from Andrews Air Force Base, DC, responded to the Cessna over Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD.
To reach the plane, the jets were allowed to fly at supersonic speeds, and the sonic boom came from two of the F-16s coming out of the Andrews Air Force base.
The jets intercepted a civilian plane at 3:20 p.m., and fighter jets reported that the Cessna pilot was unresponsive.
NORAD also revealed they had attempted to contact the Cessna pilot until the plane crashed near the George Washington National Forest in Virginia, killing all four passengers.
NORAD also explained people on the ground may have seen flares used to intercept the plane. According to NORAD, the flares burned quickly and completely, so they wouldn’t endanger people on the ground.
The hashtag “explosion” also went viral on Twitter on Sunday afternoon as reports on the sound came in.