Falling ice from jet smashes through couple’s rooftop

April 23, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A couple got the shock of their lives after the flight ban was lifted – when a block of ice from a passing jet crashed through their ROOF.

Stunned Alan Wood, 77, was doing some DIY when he heard an ”almighty bang” and saw tiles tumbling to the ground.

He went to investigate with wife Gwen, 72, and discovered a FOOT-WIDE hole in the roof of their house and huge chunks of shattered ice littering the loft.

Alan, a retired lighting engineer, said: ”It’s amazing really. If anybody had been on the other end of it they would have been killed.

”It was such a noise – there was the crash then the roar of the tiles as they slid down the roof to another section of roof below, then another crash when that roof got smashed.

”The tiles and the ice was all over the next door neighbour’s drive – fortunately her car wasn’t there or it would have been horribly damaged.”

The incident happened at 11am on Thursday morning as flights returned to normal following the six-day freeze on air travel because of the volcanic ash cloud.

Alan, of Filton, Bristol, said: ”I was doing some painting in the bedroom and I heard a tremendous noise.

”My wife was on the landing so I thought she’d fallen down because it was a hell of a bang.

”But then she said, ‘There’s roof tiles falling off past the window’.

”So I went down outside and there was ice everywhere.  The whole thing must have been the size of a football to start with, but I picked up chunks that were the size of my fist.

”We went inside and saw the ice had gone clean through the ceiling and fallen to the floor in the loft.”

The damage on the outside of the roof measures 2ft by 3ft – but the ice managed to penetrate a foot-wide hole all the way through the insulation of the house into the loft.

Alan contacted the Civil Aviation Authority, which said the block had probably come from ice forming on a passing overhead jet.

The grandfather-of-nine added: ”Now you can see the planes flying overhead through the hole in the roof.  There’s certainly been a lot more since the ban was lifted.

”There’s at least a dozen flying over the area each morning, and even more right now.”

Gwen, a retired caterer, collected the pieces of ice in a bag and put them in the freezer.

She added: ”I heard an almighty bang and I thought Alan had fallen off his ladder, but then I heard this terrific roar and saw the tiles coming down off the roof. It was terrifying.

”Some of the ice was in the roof and some was in the neighbour’s garden.  With the impact it all broke up, but it must have been the size of a football.

”It was like a big ball of white ice. I took the pieces from the loft and put them in the freezer.”

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Richard Taylor said: ”Fortunately it is a very rare event – we only get about 20 of these incidents reported to us every year and there are more than three million flight movements over the UK annually.

”It usually occurs where there’s a build-up of ice on the seals of the exterior pipes where water is pumped into the aircraft.

”Water seeps out and ice begins to form at a high altitude and continues to grow in size until the plane descends into warmer air.

”Then, very rarely, chunks of ice actually make it to the ground.”

The Wood’s insurance is covering the damage.

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