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Big 'thud' was likely fighter jets on manoeuvres

CFB Cold Lake to confirm rattling thud over Lac La Biche area

Residents in and around the Lac La Biche hamlet heard and felt a big 'thud' earlier Thursday afternoon. 

A single boom that rattled buildings around the Lac La Biche hamlet at approximately 2:35 pm was the result of a sonic boom from an American fighter jet taking part in training exercises in the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range.

The range, part of a massive jurisdiction known as Improvement District 349 on the municipal map and the Primrose Air Weapons Range on military maps, is tied to the neighbouring Municipal District of Bonnyville and Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake. The western border of the range is just 60 kilometres east of the Lac La Biche hamlet.

Lac La Biche POST staff contacted the CFB Cold Lake media relations asking about the boom and rattle. Although not confirmed, officials at the base say there is currently an exercise going on with links to NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defence Command, that is including US fighter planes.

In previous years, during Maple Flag exercises and other similar fighter simulations, the 'war games' played over the bombing range used digital targeting and simulated fire. Once a plane is hit by the simulated fire, the pilot can return to a neutral corner of the range's airspace and re-charge to get back into the 'fight.'

Hurrying to get back into the scenario, the engines can sometimes push the planes to break the sound barrier, causing the sonic boom and the sonic airwaves.

A CFB Cold Lake spokesperson said due to the activity of the current training exercise, a definite answer was not expected for at least a day. staff have also contacted Lac La Biche County officials to determine if a municipal incident was responsible.

County officials said they would examine the incident, but almost an hour after the large 'thud' shook the area, they were not reporting any incident that could have caused it.