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RAF fighter jets were scrambled to identify “an unresponsive civilian aircraft” over the north of England. 

The aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire yesterday to help guide an Air France aircraft to a safe landing in Newcastle.

People reported their houses shaking at about 9.50pm after hearing what sounded like two loud explosions. These were later confirmed to have been sonic booms.

An RAF spokesman said: “Quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft were launched today from RAF Coningsby to identify an unresponsive civilian aircraft.

“Communications were re-established and the aircraft has been safely landed.”

Reports suggested the jets had escorted the plane after it went off course. Air France confirmed that the unresponsive civilian aircraft was one of its planes.

The airline tweeted: “Air France confirms that due to a radio communication problem AF 1558 had to be accompanied by two British fighter aircrafts according to the procedure.

“The aircraft landed in Newcastle at 22:20 (LT). Safety of clients & crew is an absolute priority.”

North Yorkshire Police tweeted: “Confirmation from RAF that loud bangs heard across the county were sonic booms from RAF Typhoon jets. No cause for concern.”