What sounded like two huge explosions rocked the tiny town of Independence around noon on Tuesday. The sonic booms jarred nerves and window panes.
We received calls from some panicked residents, astounded at the enormity of the booms. The Inyo Sheriff’s office fielded numerous calls from anxious citizens. Sheriff Bill Lutze said that it was determined that the explosions were two large sonic booms from military air traffic. Several callers reported broken windows and items that fell from walls. There were no reports of injuries.
Susan Read, information officer for China Lake Naval Weapons Center said that the booms were definitely sonic.She confirmed that military jets were training in the area at the time. She did not confirm from where the jets came. Read did say they were not from China Lake or Edwards Air Force Base. That leaves Fort Irwin or a military center from out of California.
Ms. Read said that the Owens Valley is an official military special use air space called R2508. Military aircraft from all over California and other parts of the nation use our air space for training and exercises. Read did assure residents that the sonic boom incident will be reported to a management group of military representatives who will determine if the pilots were out of compliance with regulations. Read said the jets were flying well above the acceptable height. She did not say if the speed was regulation. Read did say that the jet pilots clarly broke the speed of sound.