Scottish pilot makes earth move for English town

An American F/A-18 Hornet breaks the sound barrier, causing a ripple in the surrounding air (File picture)

A SCOTS jet fighter pilot terrified residents of an English town after breaking the sound barrier and causing a massive sonic boom.

Ceiling tiles fell from buildings and worshippers fled from a church after the Tornado from RAF Lossiemouth flew close to Berwick-on-Tweed.

Worried residents at first though the noise and rumbling had been caused by an earthquake.

But the RAF has now apologised after an investigation quickly showed the culprit was a Tornado GR4 flying at more than 750mph.

The Vicar of Berwick, Canon Alan Hughes, told how people dashed out of a church after the building started to shake.

He said: “I was standing outside the vicarage and the next thing I knew people were piling out of the Church of Scotland and doors were rattling and people were coming out of their homes and offices.”

“I was shaken to the core.”


Northumbria police received several calls from locals shaken by the incident, which shook buildings as far north as Eyemouth and as far south as Newcastle.

Berwick resident Leah Ingledew said: “I was sitting in my car waiting to pick up my son from school when all of a sudden there was a deafening rumble and my car began to shake and bounce.

“I was scared stiff. My heart was in my mouth.”

She continued: “My son was worried to death. My other two children texted me straight away to tell me there had been an earthquake.”

“When I got home my husband told me the house had been shaking, the windows were bending an rattling and the wall unit was shaking so much he thought he was going to collapse.”

Ceiling tiles fell from several buildings in Berwick, including the Swan Centre of Leisure.

AN RAF spokesman said: “The RAF can confirm that a single Tornado GR4 from RAF Lossiemouth completed a pre-planned supersonic run off the coast of Northumberland during a sortie to RAF Marham inNorfolk.

“The supersonic element of the flight was conducted in accordance with RAF flying training rules, which state the aircraft should be more than 10 miles from the coast.

“Any inconvenience caused to local residents is regretted.”

A spokeswoman for the British Geological Survey said their monitoring equipment had picked up data from the bang.

But she said seismologists believed it to be a ‘sonic event’ rather than an earthquake.

She said: “It doesn’t have the telltale signs of an earthquake.”