A mysterious explosion has been heard across a large area surrounding Washington DC on Sunday afternoon.
The “loud boom” reportedly shook houses in the US capital and was heard as far away as northern Virginia and Annapolis, Maryland, at about 3.15 pm.
Officials have yet to issue a statement about what caused the explosion, but it may be linked to a plane crash in southwest Virginia around 3 pm.
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 Elizabethton and flew over New Jersey and New York before descending into a mountain in Virginia.
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 the 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 the Chesapeake Bay.
Hearing Of An #Explosion In #Washington DC....Anyone Else Hear About It? pic.twitter.com/K6qVcGt0Rd
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.