Sonic boom over Herts and Essex: Woman on Stansted flight arrested for 'endangering aircraft'
A sonic boom from RAF jets which were scrambled in response to an incident on a Stansted Airport flight triggered a flood of 999 calls to emergency services in Hertfordshire and Essex.
The explosive sound was heard at about 6.45pm across an area stretching from south Essex to Norfolk.
Two Eurofighter Typhoon jets were scrambled from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, on what is known as a quick reaction alert (QRA), soon after 6.30pm.
They were responding to an alert from Jet2 flight LS1503 from Stansted to Dalaman in Turkey, which departed 90 minutes late at 5.52pm.
About 45 minutes into its journey, the Airbus A321 turned around over the North Sea to return to Stansted as a result of what a Jet2 spokesperson called an "extremely disruptive" passenger on board.
National newspaper websites reported that a young woman, who appeared to be drunk, agitated and distressed, tried to get into the cockpit, threatened to kill fellow passengers and had to be restrained by cabin crew and passengers.
Police were waiting to escort the woman off the plane when it touched down. Flights at Stansted Airport were disrupted for about half an hour.
A spokesman for the airport said: "The sonic boom was caused by Typhoon jets escorting a Jet2.com aircraft into STN due to reports of a disruptive passenger on board. Operations were affected for about 30 minutes."
A spokesperson for Essex Police said: "We were made aware of a disruptive passenger on an inbound flight to Stansted this evening (Saturday, 22 June).
"Officers attended and arrested a 25-year-old woman on suspicion of two assaults and endangering an aircraft. She remains in custody."
Bishop's Stortford police tweeted: "Large number of 999 calls coming in about a loud explosion. We have liaised with @EssexPoliceUK who are confirming that this is a sonic boom from a passing aircraft."
The Indie's Stansted reporter, Hollie Ryder, who lives in Rickling, said: "Our house shook! Villagers all came out their front doors and we were asking each other 'What the hell was that?'.
"Relatives in Great Hallingbury and Bury Green (Little Hadham) both phoned me asking did I hear that, and lots of questions are popping up on our village Facebook page."
A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shockwaves created when an object travelling through the air travels faster than the speed of sound, which is 767mph.