Supersonic Jet Made Beeline For Iran Passenger Plane

Story ByMichael Leidig, Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News 

A German Eurofighter jet travelling at supersonic speeds was set to intercept an Airbus A330 from Iran Air heading to Hamburg after air traffic control failed to contact the civilian plane.

Panicked locals on the ground who heard what sounded like an explosion at 5:30 am in the area around the town of Buchholz the German state of Lower Saxony called police to report the matter. Some of those who called even spoke of a shock wave that had rattled windows.

Picture Credit: CEN

The police officers, however, had no explanation until the countries Luftwaffe admitted that it had been the Eurofighter travelling at high speed.

They admitted later in the day that south-east of Bremerhaven plane had entered German airspace that had not made any contact with ground control, and as a result, the Eurofighter was scrambled to intercept.

As it reached supersonic speeds, the sound of it breaking through the sound barrier had then impacted on the people below, many of whom were sleeping at the time.

Once the jet flew alongside the passenger plane, it was able to establish contact and the pilot who was then put in touch with ground control.

In a message posted on Twitter, “Team_Luftwaffe” wrote: “Early Monday morning a Quick Reaction Alert #QRA from the Tactical Air Force Squadron 71 “Richthofen” from Wittmund flew mission south-east of Bremerhaven partly at supersonic speed. A civilian machine was identified. #Team_Luftwaffe”.

The QRA is the status that air defence units in NATO are required to maintain 24-hours a day to investigate infringement of any NATO countries’ airspace. This includes civilian aircraft that are no longer responding or failed to respond to air traffic control.

It is unclear what caused the communication problems between air traffic control and and the Iranian aeroplane.

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