(We’re continuing to add info as more is learned about this afternoon’s sonic booms)
ORIGINALLY POSTED SHORT ITEM AT 1:50 PM: (We originally reported “Yes, we heard it too” after the two double sonic booms rocked WSB HQ in Fauntleroy. Then the servers jammed. We were also tweeting – here’s our first one – and FB’ing – first status here.)
UPDATE: KING5 confirms with FAA that military jets caused the sonic booms. Apparently they were scrambled for a possible breach of the no-fly zone. On the scanner, we hear they came here from Portland.
2:12 PM UPDATE: Southwest Precinct says that they have received official confirmation of the military jet cause. There is no word of any damage or injury at this point. Our apologies about the site’s inaccessibility – literally thousands of people slammed it at once and we are dealing with our server management company to be sure that would never be a problem again.
According to the scanner, the aircraft were scrambled because of a no-fly zone breach during the president’s visit. The location of the no-fly zone breach seems to vary depending on which citywide-media source you look at/listen to – anything from Lake Union to Boeing Field. Continuing to look for official verdicts.
2:25 PM UPDATE: We continued updating Facebook and Twitter while the server was inaccessible and as noted there – the 911 calls, according to scanner traffic, had been coming largely from West Seattle. So WS felt the brunt of it.
Our partners at the Seattle Times now have a short article up (and we’re sure it will be updated as they get more) – read it here. And if you are interested in reading what people are saying on Twitter – here’s the ongoing monitor of the phrase “sonic booms.
2:38 PM: Seeing and hearing reports that the seaplane pilot is being questioned on Lake Union.
2:54 PM: There have been different types of aircraft reported by different citywide sources but now the prevailing ID seems to be F-15s, Oregon Air National Guard. Will add citation/link as soon as we find it. Meantime, we have been checking the mailboxes and other incoming sources and it still does not appear anyone’s reported damage – let us know if you have heard/seen otherwise.
3:10 PM: If you’ll pardon the soundtrack – here’s the first video we found on what a sonic boom LOOKS like. Will sub out if we find a better explainer:
SONIC BOOMS over Seattle: NORAD responded to an aircraft violating a VIP Temporary Flight Restricted Area near Seattle at approximately 1:35 PDT. F15s from the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard in Portland, were scrambled to intercept the aircraft. The aircraft departed the TFR prior to intercept but in the… process of intercepting the aircraft, the F15s went super-sonic near the Seattle Area.
NORAD responded to a question following that status update, regarding why jets weren’t scrambled from McChord in Pierce County instead:
The aircraft on alert at the time were from Portland. Also, McChord does not usually have fighters stationed there. As for going supersonic, the U.S. Air Force has the best trained and equipped force in the world. They fly very safe.
3:56 PM: A Normandy Park woman on the floatplane that caused the fighters to rush this way has told the Associated Press she and the pilot had no idea about the flight restrictions.
4:03 PM: The president has left Seattle – Air Force One has taken off. (4:32 pm – adding photo David DeSiga shared via Facebook, where we’re seeing multiple comments that the jet was visible from West Seattle after takeoff)
NORAD has published its official “news release” – although frankly, the Facebook status we republished above was more informative!
4:52 PM: The Times has continued to update its story. (And has a photo of the floatplane pilot with a Secret Service agent.) This quick excerpt addresses one of our remaining questions:
Officials said it would be a national security risk to say how fast the planes were traveling, but even at sub-supersonic speeds it would take not much longer than 10 minutes to make the trip from Portland.
5:06 PM: Well, maybe we can get back to writing the story we were working on before all this. Now the humor races in: Somebody created a foursquare check-in for “F15 Sonic Booms.” Second, you can put in for an “Obooma!” T-shirt.