Sonic boom: Loud explosion heard in Paris during French Open

A “large explosion of unknown source” was heard in Paris and surrounding suburbs in France on Wednesday, 30 September 2020 during the French Open. Update: It was a sonic boom.

This follows after two people were wounded in the knife attack on Friday 25 September 2020. They were attacked outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo in central Paris by a man wielding a meat cleaver.

Paris explosion: Here’s what we know

Short video clips are also being shared online as concerned citizens take to social media. One netizen claims it was a “jetplane passing the sound barrier”. Another joked:

“That explosion heard in Paris was all of TT gasping for breath when we heard Serena had withdrawn”.

The clip shared on Twitter shows Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland and his German opponent Dominik Koepfer at Roland Garros during the French Open; pausing for a moment after the explosion.

Watch: ‘Loud boom’ heard during French Open

Update: Source of Paris explosion confirmed

The French police have since confirmed that the explosion was a sonic boom from a military jet. The following update from the Préfecture de Police, who urged citizens to stop clogging up emergency phone lines, was shared on Twitter.

“A very loud noise was heard in Paris […] There is no explosion, it was a fighter jet crossing the sound barrier”.

Préfecture de Police, translated tweet.

Netizens who heard the sonic boom shared their experiences online. One user said they heard it East of Paris “followed by a two minutes roar”. One has to “appreciate Concorde even more”, Frank added.

52480e58 paris explosion sonic boom french open 2048x1365 - Sonic boom: Loud explosion heard in Paris during French Open
Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka returns the ball to Germany’s Dominik Koepfer during their men’s singles second round tennis match at the Suzanne Lenglen court on Day 4 of The Roland Garros 2020 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on 30 September, 2020. Photo: AFP/Thomas Samson

In addition, a user known as Jon said the sonic boom was a “good way to weed out some fake news accounts”. Another citizen on the Quai François Mauriac said:

“Sound of explosion near the François Mitterrand Library, we were all afraid that it was an attack.”

According to Telegraph, “eyewitnesses reported their buildings rocking and people from several central districts as well as in nearby suburbs reported hearing the blast”.

Beirut explosion

Back in August, two massive blasts rocked Beirut in Lebanon. It left the port area of the city and the Hamra district in devastation. Footage shared on social media at the time also showed a sizeable mushroom-shaped cloud.

The second blast left shops and businesses in the Hamra commercial district in rubble, while reporters close to the scene confirmed that entire shopfronts were destroyed, with shattered windows and wrecked cars in the street.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reported live from the scene:

“The force of the blast was massive. I was walking on the street and I was thrown to the ground. There’s panic and chaos; glass everywhere.”

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