A loud bang that was heard and large parts of Brussels and its surroundings on Friday was caused by army planes breaking the sound barrier, the Belgian Air Force confirmed via Twitter.
The bang was noticeable in Anderlecht and Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, but also in a lot of Flemish municipalities around the Capital-Region, such as Affligem and Asse, and caused a lot of commotion on social media.
“Two Belgian Air Force F-16s broke the sound barrier this morning after they were retasked by CRC Beauvechain to investigate a ‘Loss of Communication’ incident with a civilian airplane,” the Air Force tweeted.
Two @BeAirForce #F16 broke the sound barrier this morning after they were retasked by #CRC Beauvechain to investigate a ‘Loss of Communication’ incident with a civilian airplane. Although they were at 36,000 feet (12 km) when cleared supersonic, the boom was heard on the ground. pic.twitter.com/x3cgLu7g0w
— Belgian Air Force🇧🇪 (@BeAirForce) May 28, 2021
“Although they were at 36,000 feet (12 km) when cleared supersonic, the boom was heard on the ground,” they added.
Many social media users referred to the area around the Jette University Hospital in Brussels, where the bang was so loud that people initially thought it was an explosion.
Earlier, the Brussels fire brigade also reported that the sound was caused by planes flying through the sound barrier, based on info from Brussels Airport’s control tower.
“It is a standard procedure whereby air traffic control contacts Defence if they lose contact with an aircraft,” Dominique Dehaene of Skeyes told VRT, adding that in turn, Defence sent F-16s to intercept the plane.
“Contact with the civil aircraft was quickly restored,” he said, but in the meantime, the F-16s had already broken through the sound barrier to get there quickly.