F16s cause unrest in Zeeland while intercepting passenger plane

Two loud bangs caused some panic in Zeeland around 10:15 p.m. on Monday night. According to the police, a large number of people called emergency line 112. The bangs were caused by two F-16 fighter jets breaking the sound barrier on their way to intercept a passenger plane that did not contact air traffic control.

The F-16s took off from Volkel air base for a so-called Quick Reaction Alert (QRA), the air base said on Twitter. After intervention, the passenger plane made contact with air traffic control and the fighter jets returned to the base. Why the plane did not do so in the first place is unclear. 

The bangs were heard from Sas van Gent to Walcheren, AD reports.

A QRA is a quick response for fighter jets to protect NATO air space, according to the newspaper. This response is triggered, for example, when an unknown aircraft enters the airspace or when a plane fails to contact air traffic control.

Incidentally the Ministry of Defense also started training exercises with F-16s above Noord-Brabant and Belgium on Monday.