Numerous reports on Twitter from locals have claimed that the sound of several apparent “explosions” have rocked houses in the Riviera city. But according to French media firefighters and police are not currently attending any major incidents, raising suspicions the loud noises were actually a sonic boom.
Local newspaper La Marseillaise reported that the bang was heard at around 1.05pm French time in neighbourhoods across the city and beyond, also suggesting that it may have been made by a passing plane and not a bomb. And newspaper La Provence tweeted: “Many of you have reported hearing the sound of an explosion in Marseille. Firefighters and the police have not reported any ongoing incidents.”
One official told the paper: “We have also heard an explosion but its origin is, for the moment, a mystery.” La Provence reported that there are no Navy planes in the area that have the capability to break the sound barrier currently in flight. However, it added that the French air force could have conducted its own flight over the city.
AFP journalist Francois Becker said: “Sound of an explosion heard all across Marseille. “The cause is unknown but firefighters and rescue workers have not received any calls for assistance.” Journalist Pietro Guastamacchia suggested the “explosion” was “a plane that has passed the sound barrier”. He added: “Marseille police had no reports of emergency so far.”
Earlier social media lit up with people expressing worry about the loud bangs amid fears France may have been targeted by another terror attack. The country has been on edge following a series of atrocities over the last 18 months, including a lorry attack in nearby Nice on Bastille Day last year.
One person using the handle @sebaofotograf, wrote: “The explosion was felt on the wall [of my house] and the window trembled.” They then added: “The explosion was heard in the eighth arrondissement.
What is this madness, my windows are shaking.” Another user called Maxence Rose wrote: “I heard an enormous explosion in La Valentine, Marseille. Any information?” Others reported the sound of sirens in the city, although it was not clear whether that was linked to the loud bangs.
La Valentine is a suburban neighbourhood of Marseille, which is France’s second largest city. There has still been no official confirmation of what caused the disturbing noises.