There were no reports of an area where an actual explosion may have occurred that we are familiar with. A deputy reported seeing a military style aircraft pass over at that time. Sullivan Airport officials also reported that the sound was similar to a sonic boom. We began contacting the military, FAA, and Lambert Airport to determine if the noise was possibly a sonic boom. Sonic booms were common in the 60’s but were discontinued due to complaints from citizens.
A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion. The crack of a supersonic bullet passing overhead or the crack of a bullwhip are examples of a sonic boom in miniature.
A sonic boom would follow the path of the aircraft causing the noise to be heard over a substantial distance. Officials with Lambert International Airport reported that aircraft from Boeing did depart from the airport around 4:30 PM. It is possible that this was the cause for the noise but “it has not been confirmed” at this point. Since this was heard state wide, there may be other agencies with information that would indicate a contributing cause that has been confirmed but we are not aware of any as of this release.