Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ice block may have fallen from plane toilet

ICE believed to have come from an aircraft's toilet as it flew over Great Glen hit a woman's car on Saturday.
Stephanie Cole (25), a trainee driving instructor, returned home after a day in Harborough with her mum to find blocks of ice across her drive. It had hit the bonnet of her black Smart Car, causing about £700 damage and shattering on the gravel drive and the road. She said: "We had just been to Harborough and came back to see ice everywhere. I just thought 'what the hell has happened,' thinking there had been a snowball fight or something, but there was no snow on the ground." Neighbours came over and said there had been a loud bang. The only way they could describe it was it was like a water balloon falling and exploding on the ground." Stephanie called the nearest airport and Harborough police, who logged the call but said there wasn't a lot they could do. The ice is believed to have fallen from a plane thousands of feet up in the air and plummeted at a tremendous pace.
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said ice-falls from aircraft such as this are rare and usually cause little or no damage to property – however they are all considered seriously. Leaks from toilet systems can occur if there is a fault on the seal at the point where the hose from the collection vehicle connects with the aircraft. A small leak at high altitude will form ice because of the very low outside temperature. As the aircraft descends at the end of its journey, the temperature rises and the ice can detach and fall to the ground.

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