The aircraft were scrambled from RAF Conningsby in Lincolnshire to the scene of a civilian helicopter that sent out a hijack distress signal from its location in the Cotswolds near Bath in Somerset.
The false alarm was mistakenly made on a frequency that is strictly reserved for military personnel – the resulting sonic boom sound from the jets prompted building to shake in a 150 mile radius.
“If someone starts transmitting an emergency signal by mistake or intentionally, it will be picked up by air traffic controllers.” Martin Tinworth of the MOD told the BBC
“That would be passed to national authorities…if they can’t get in touch with the guy quick enough – which happened in this case – a Quick Reaction Alert will be launched.”
Worried locals thought the sound – caused by shockwaves created by an object breaking the sound barrier at high speed – was an explosion, and many called the police to check.
“Two typhoons from the Quick Reaction Alert responded accordingly and authorisation was given from them to go supersonic, which resulted in the sonic boom” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence.
“There was no actual threat to the civilian aircraft and they soon rectified their mistake.”
Image: A Typhoon aircraft (Getty images)
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