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Sonic boom heard in Florida near president was from military planes, officials say

An F-15 from the 159th Fighter Squadron flies over Jacksonville, Florida on Aug. 26, 2016.

CARLYNNE DEVINE/U.S. AIR NATIONAL GUARD

By REBECA PICCARDO | Sun Sentinel | Published: February 18, 2017

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — The boom that sparked panic in South Florida Friday night was caused by two military jets racing from Homestead to intercept an "unresponsive" plane over Palm Beach County, where President Trump is staying for the weekend.

Late Friday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, commonly known as NORAD, issued a statement saying that two Air Force F-15s had come from Homestead Air National Guard Base to intercept "an unresponsive general aviation aircraft" over Palm Beach.

Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago resort, dubbed the "Winter White House" by some, in Palm Beach County for the weekend.While he is there, the airspace near the resort is restricted.

Panicked residents called 911 to report the loud boom, which shook houses and rattled windows. Some described it as an explosion. It was actually a sonic boom caused by the speed the planes flew at. When an object moves faster than the speed of sound, it causes shock waves that result in a loud boom.

“I was in Delray Beach and I heard it,” said Sgt. Carla Kmiotek of the Coral Springs police department.

The NORAD statement explained why the jets were scrambled:

"The intent of military intercepts is to have the identified aircraft re-establish communications with local FAA traffic controllers and instruct the pilot to follow air traffic controllers' instructions to land safely for follow-in action," the statement said.

In an effort to calm people down, Local police agencies, including BSO, tweeted out that the sound was caused by military planes.

The boom was heard in Weston around 7 p.m.

The Broward Sheriff's Office asked residents to stop calling 911 about the noise. Instead, the agency asked residents to use the non-emergency number — 954-764-4357 — to report incidents like this.

“Please don't tie up 911,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.

rpiccardo@sun-sentinel.com

©2017 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
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