Sonic boom shakes Southeast Georgia

Reports of loud sound, earth shaking reports come from 5 counties


FOLKSTON, Ga. – It wasn't an earthquake that rattled windows and store shelves early, but residents across Southeast Georgia heard and felt something big Thursday morning.

"My wife and I, we heard this loud noise -- this booming noise," said Officer Todd Rhodes of the Brunswick Police Department. "It was a noise that literally shook our home."

When Rhodes got to work, he learned his 911 center was swamped with calls of people with similar reports.

"Everyone was very concerned," Rhodes said. "There was some panic there because you know when you hear that noise as far-reaching as it was, and not only hearing it but feeling it, you want to know, 'What is this?'"

Reports came in to Channel 4's newsroom from Nahunta to Folkston about a loud noise and buildings shaking between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. 

"Up at City Hall, they said they felt something shake," said Folkston resident Ericka Smith.

The Georgia State Patrol says they received calls from Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Glynn and McIntosh counties asking about the boom and rumble.

The manager at Satilla Grocery in Waynesville reviewed surveillance video that showed the building shaking.

"Next thing I know we just hear this big old rattle," Deanna Brower said. "The doors here rattled really hard, and we thought maybe somebody had actually hit the doors or something."

The U.S. Geological Survey said there was no indication of a earthquake in the area, but had hear reports of either a sonic boom or other event that cause the ground to rumble.

Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay said they were not conducting any operations that would have caused a sonic boom or explosion.

Channel 4 checked with the Navy and Marines, which said there were two F/A-18 Super Hornets flying over Georgia at the time, but they were nowhere close to the speed of sound.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it had no record of any aircraft going supersonic in the area on Thursday.

Late in the day, the Georgia Department of Emergency Management said Air Force jets were doing training exercises off the coast of Brunswick and one got too close to land.

The fact that no one can explain what caused the boom and shake for most of the day was disconcerting to local residents.

"We haven't heard anything, and that's sad," Rhodes said mid-afternon. "So many people here have felt that and we don't have a clue what it was."