The mysterious loud noise heard in the eastern part of Bengaluru left both citizens and authorities baffled. Social media is abuzz with claims that the explosion-like sound was a sonic boom while several others are dubbing it as an earthquake.
It was around 1:20 PM on Wednesday, May 20, that people present in areas such as old airport road, CV Raman Nagar, Indiranagar, Whitefield, Kasavanhalli, Sarjapur Road, and Marathahalli heard the booming sound. Soon, many theories surfaced as to what exactly triggered the thundering noise.
Was it an earthquake?
The first thing to strike the minds of the residents was that there could have been an earthquake. However, the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) ruled out the speculation.
"The loud sound heard in Bengaluru is not due to an earthquake. The Seismometers did not capture any ground vibration as is generally the case during a mild tremor," the monitoring centre said.
The Karnataka Police also denied reports of an explosion in the capital city of the state. Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao, IPS, confirmed that no damage has been caused so far.
Later, the KSNDMC put forth an explanation as they quoted an expert on such matters and said that the blast-like sound was an atmospheric phenomenon that could have been a result of the collision of warm and cold air. However, the centre did not claim it to be 100 per cent true.
Did a plane go supersonic?
After it was made clear that there was no earthquake in Bengaluru, netizens attributed the sound to a sonic boom. Hordes of social media users claimed that a fighter plane went supersonic during an air trial, thus creating a sonic boom. The theory gained traction when several people confirmed spotting a few choppers in the sky earlier in the day.
Subsequently, the police officials contacted the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to ascertain the cause of the still inexplicable sound. While the HAL did not respond affirmatively, the IAF confirmed that one of the jets went supersonic.
"ASTE and HAL could have been undertaking their routine test flying, which necessitates going supersonic at times. Considering the atmospheric conditions and reduced noise levels during the COVID-19 crisis, the aircraft sound may become clearly audible even if it happened way out from the city," read the statement issued by HQRS Training Command, IAF, Bengaluru.
Therefore, it would be safe to say that the booming sound was caused by a fighter plane. Notably, Bengaluru reported a similarly loud sound in 2018 as well, the cause of which is debated to date.