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Did You Hear It? Loud Noise Thursday Morning May Have Been Sonic Boom

Did you hear it?

An extremely loud noise that was heard from Norwich to Vershire — and perhaps beyond — shortly before 11 this morning may have been a sonic boom, according to an official at the Lebanon Municipal Airport air traffic control tower.

Air Traffic Manager Braxton Freeman said he couldn’t say for sure whether the noise was indeed a sonic boom, the loud noise produced by the shock wave from an aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound.

But after he received an inquiry from the Hanover police dispatch and a curious resident, he put in a call to the Federal Aviation Administration traffic agency in Boston.

“They informed me that there were some F-15s working in the military operating area,” he said, “and they could have produced the sonic boom sound, but they can’t be positive.”

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Residents in Norwich, Thetford and Vershire reported the sound to the Valley News, which was heard around 10:48 a.m.

Another person, Fairlee Selectboard Chairwoman Mary Daly, was in her Fairlee home talking on the phone to a Valley News reporter when she heard the loud noise, stopping mid-conversation to exclaim she heard a “boom” outside.

Around that time, Norwich resident Jonathan Frishtick was also talking on the phone at his house when he heard the “shuddering noise.” He went downstairs to check his oil burner, gas line and water heater (they were fine), went outside to see if the snow on his roof had unloaded (it hadn’t), and then checked the U.S. Geological Survey website to see if there were reports of an earthquake (there weren’t).

After calling the Norwich Police Department non-emergency line and learning police there had heard the noise but were befuddled, as well, he emailed a friend who’s a geologist who suggested it may have been a sonic boom.

“I was inside and I didn’t even think of a sonic boom, I thought more of some kind of impact, like a huge tree falling in the backyard, or some sort of impact,” he said. “That’s why I thought it was like a short duration earthquake, but ... I think it came in two parts. It wasn’t one rumble.”

Police at the Hanover dispatch, which takes calls for 23 towns, including Norwich and the surrounding areas, reported receiving about 15 calls related to the sound.