THE pilot of a plane that sparked RAF sonic boom jets to scramble yesterday has said he nearly had a heart attack after he spotted the Typhoons heading towards him.
Steven Giordano, from New Jersey, was left stunned after the jets were deployed following a loss of communication with the plane travelling from Tel Aviv.
Jet Test pilot, Steven Giodano, told the BBC: “I looked left and about had a heart attack when I saw one- so close- strobes on and with blueish ‘glow strips’ along the side of his fuselage.”
“We flashed our landing lights to acknowledge and established radio contact on “guard”… with the fighters.
“We were already talking to London control at that point. They remained with us for about five minutes.”
Giordano, a former airline pilot and US Marine Corps Reservist, said it had taken them around 10 minutes to realise there was an issue with the radio which started somewhere over Germany.
Giordano, from New Jersey, praised the speed with which the RAF scrambled to his plane’s location, telling the BBC: “I applaud them for that.”
Thousands across London and the Home Counties were woken by a “massive bang” on Sunday which was caused by a sonic boom, a noise made when an object travels faster than the speed of sound.
Brits based in Cambridge, Hertfordshire and across North London reported hearing what they initially believed to be an explosion.
But Met Police confirmed the noise, which rattled residents at around 4.20am, was caused by a sonic boom from the speedy fighter jets.
Steven told the BBC: “I looked left and about had a heart attack when I saw one – so close – strobes on and with blueish ‘glow strips’ along the side of his fuselage.”
RAF Typhoon fighters were scrambled to intercept a Boeing 767-300 after the plane “lost communication”.
A spokesman for Met Police added: “There is no cause for concern.”
Police had earlier confirmed they were looking into the “reports of a loud bang” – but were not aware of an explosion.
Hertfordshire Fire Control added they are “currently receiving a large number of calls” from across the whole of the county “regarding a large explosion sound”.
Concerned Brits took to social media to reveal how the vibrations from the bang shook their homes.
Zoe Freeman tweeted: “Explosion 10 minutes ago. Sonic boom? Seems to be heard over East Herts and London…”
Shelby Loasby said: “Woke up around 4.18 to what felt like an explosion.
“A loud bang and a vibration that shook our block of flats. Looks like people across Herts and London felt/heard it too?”
Andrew Holding said: “Nice to get woken up by a #sonicboom in Cambridge …”
What is a sonic boom?
A sonic boom is the noise created by the shock waves created when a flying object travels faster than the speed of sound.
It can sound like a loud explosion or thunderclap and can cause minor damage to buildings and wake sleeping people.
The speed of sound, known as Mach 1 for aircraft, is approximately 767mph at sea level.
The noise of a sonic boom isn’t heard in all directions from the object and isn’t only heard at the moment the object crosses the speed of sound.
The boom is a continuous effect that is created while the vehicle is travelling at supersonic speeds.