A mysterious “explosion” has been heard across a large area surrounding Washington DC on Sunday afternoon.
The City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management said in a tweet that the boom was caused by an authorised US Department of Defense flight which had caused a sonic boom.
It wasn’t immediately unclear if the DoD flight was linked to a to a plane crash in southwest Virginia around 3pm.
The Federal Aviation Administration told The Independent a Cessna Citation aircraft bound for New York had crashed into sparsely populated mountainous terrain near Staunton.
“The aircraft took off from Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and was bound for Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York,” a spokesperson said.
There was no immediate word on whether there were any casualties, or how many people were on board.
According to flight tracker website FlightRadar24, a plane with a registration number N611VG took off from the Elizabethton, flew over New Jersey and New York before descending into a mountain in Virginia.
According to the Aviation Safety website, the plane veered of its planned route about 1 hour 15 minutes into the flight, flying past its intended destination in Long Island.
The airplane began a rapid descent spiral shortly before it crashed, according to the site.
The fixed-wing multi engine plane is owned by Florida company Encore Motors of Melbourne, according to the FAA.
There was speculation the pilot may have been unresponsive, and fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the plane.
The DC Fire and EMS Twitter account said emergency response officials were aware of the reports of a loud boom in the area.
Washington DC Metro police referred The Independent to the US Department of Defense for further information.
The DoD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Andrew Leydon, a DC-based freelance journalist, claimed the DC Air National Guard had been conducting drills over Chesapeake Bay on Sunday afternoon and was cleared to go supersonic during an alert scramble exercise.
On the Radio Reference forum, users reported hearing an F-16 pilot say they had gone supersonic while flying Chesapeake Bay.
A Ring doorbell camera appeared to capture the sound at 3.07pm, according to footage posted to Twitter.
The United States Geological Survey did not report an earthquake on the East Coast at that time.
Twitter users reported hearing the explosion as far away as Alexandria, Virginia.
“People all over DC area report hearing loud explosion shaking some houses,” journalist Oliya Scootercaster posted.
Thomas O’Brien said in a tweet he had been on a FaceTime with family in Maryland who immediately got off the call because of the explosion.
“Weird that nobody seems to know what caused it,” he posted.