December 15, 2004 (by Anonymous) - Officials from the U.S. Air Force confirmed Wednesday afternoon that two F-16 fighter planes were flying at supersonic speeds off the S.C. coast Tuesday night, causing a loud boom that shook the Grand Strand.
Capt. Mark Gibson of the 20th Fighter Wing said the two planes, both based at Sumter's Shaw Air Force base, were performing training maneuvers around the time a loud boom shook a large portion of the region.
Gibson said the planes were flying at supersonic speeds legally. Military jets cannot cross the sound barrer within 15 miles of the shoreline.
Gibson said the sound came ashore due to cold atmospheric conditions.
The sound rocked the region around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and left officials and residents to question the cause of the disturbance that rattled windows and nerves. Early concerns centered on a possible plane crash, but all aircraft were accounted for.
Petty Officer Kevin Huber of the Georgetown Coast Guard station said officials from Shaw had warned the Coast Guard of operations before Tuesday's building-shaking boom.
Witnesses to the boom spanned the Strand from areas as far north as Little River, as far south as Georgetown and as far west as the Bucksport area of Horry County.