A sonic boom and fireballs and flaming debris that Kokomo-area residents reported seeing in the sky Wednesday night prompted Howard County's police agencies to conduct a two-hour search for what many residents thought was a crashed aircraft.As it turned out, the fireballs were flares fired by F-16s that are part of the 122nd Fighter Wing, an Indiana Air National Guard unit based at Fort Wayne International Airport. ...Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry with Indiana National Guard's headquarters in Indianapolis said the jets taking part in the training are not supposed to exceed the speed of sound, which is about 760 mph, because supersonic speeds produce sonic booms.He said the 122nd's commander, Col. Jeff Soldner, will investigate why at least one jet reached supersonic speeds Wednesday night over Howard and Tipton counties, and also on Tuesday night over the Logansport area, shaking the ground below. ...He said F-16 training often involves the aircraft dropping flares from more than 10,000 feet above the ground, a technique that can allow the jets to evade heat-seeking missiles in combat. ...Logansport Police Chief A.J. Rozzi said he heard a loud sonic boom on Tuesday night, and then heard the sound of a jet high overheard. He said residents also reported seeing fire streaks in the sky.He said it is common for the 122nd to conduct missions in the area and believes F-16 training almost certainly explains the sights and sounds."They've been doing that training for quite a while. I don't know what maneuvers they're actually doing, but they do shoot out streaks of light," he said.
A 5.4 earthquake that appeared to rival the strongest recorded in the region rocked people awake up to 350 miles away early Friday, surprising residents unaccustomed to such a powerful Midwest temblor.The quake just before 4:37 a.m. was centered 6 miles from West Salem, Ill., and 66 miles from Evansville, Ind. It was felt in such distant cities as Chicago, Cincinnati and Milwaukee, 350 miles north of the epicenter, but there were no early reports of injuries or significant damage. ...."You could hear a roaring sound and the whole motel shook, waking up the guests,'' Vibha Ambelal, manager of the Super 8 Motel in Mount Carmel, Illinois, near the epicenter, said in a telephone interview."+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++