Officials: Air Force jets caused sonic boom that shook Broward, Palm Beach

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - Military aircraft attempting to intercept a private plane flying near Palm Beach County caused a sonic boom that sparked panic across western Broward and Palm Beach counties, Friday night, according to officials.

In a press release issued by U.S. Northern Command, officials said, “A pair of Air Force F-15s, under the direction of North American Aerospace Defense Command, intercepted an unresponsive general aviation aircraft near the Palm Beach, Fla., area at approximately 7 p.m. EST.”

The boom shook windows and sent people running outside. USNORTHCOM’s release goes on to state, “The intercept required the Air Force F-15s from Homestead Air National Guard Base to travel at supersonic speeds, a sound noticed by area residents, to get to the general aviation aircraft where they were able to establish communications.”

Many witnesses quickly began searching for answers to what happened, with many checking their surveillance cameras and cellphones. “This strike, it was like a lightning strike,” said Alex Martinez, a shop owner. “I mean, inventory came off the shelves. So that’s when I know something is weird.”

An instructor at a dance studio said people began running in and out of the building. “I was sitting down, door blew open,” she said. “People started running in and out to see what was happening.”

Martinez immediately wanted to help after he heard the boom. “When that happened, I ran outside,” he said. “We were scared. Wanted to help in case there was a crash or something. Or something bad happened.”

Cellphone video captured frightened kids reacting to the boom as they played.

Another video shows a startled cat in someone’s living room.

Calls flooded 911 within minutes.

Parents at the dance studio panicked. “We had parents calling 911,” the dance instructor said. “We work at a dance studio. People calling in to make sure everyone is OK.”

The influx of calls led Broward Sheriff’s Office to tweet:

Coral Springs Fire Department also tweeted out an explanation.

A video from the U.S. Navy shows exactly what happens when a jet breaks the sound barrier and causes a ‘sonic boom.’

Merriam-Wesbter Dictionary describes the sound effect as “a very loud and explosive noise that is produced by an aircraft when it travels faster than the speed of sound.”

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