People living close to Košice and Rožňava (both in eastern Slovakia) might have been disturbed by a noise similar to an explosion on the evening of June 23.
It was caused by two MiG-29 fighter jets that took off from the Sliač airport (Banská Bystrica Region) to help an Italian civilian plane that lost connection while flying over Slovakia, the Defence Ministry stated on Facebook.
“The emergency takeoff was necessary after the flight operation management bodies lost connection with the Italian Airbus 320 plane travelling on the Milan-Kharkiv route,” the ministry explained.
The fighter jets accompanied the plane to the borders with Ukraine
The ministry apologised
This is why a shockwave, caused by the fighter jets exceeding the speed of sound, could be heard close to Rožňava and Košice.
“We want to apologise to people for the disturbance, but these situations are linked to securing the safety of all Slovakia’s inhabitants,” the Defence Ministry said, adding that the air forces are responsible for the protection of the air space 24/7.
The fighter jets that are part of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS) intervene when the air space is interrupted, but also when planes are in danger, when the connection is lost or a plane is abducted, the ministry explained.
The loss of connection is the most frequent reason for emergency takeoffs.