Block of ice from a passing plane crashes through roof of home in Twyford
An elderly couple, in Twyford, Berkshire (under a Heathrow flight path) had the unpleasant experience of a block of ice, which appeared to have fallen from a passing plane, crash through their roof. The two foot long block cracked the ceiling. Luckily it hit the roof in a different part of the house from where the couple were. They said they were lucky not to have been injured. There have been many other incidents over the years of blocks of ice falling – associated with frozen water from aircraft lavatories. Had the ice block fallen onto the road, it could have hit a car or a passer-by. Had it fallen onto a busy road like a motorway, it could have caused a serious accident. The elderly couple had to be assisted by their son in sorting out insurance, and getting the roof repaired. As the insurance company was slow, being a Sunday morning, the local fire brigade helped to patch up the damage and confirm the water and electricity supplies to their house were undamaged. Water (from a lavatory?) from the ice block was dripping through the (now sagging) damaged ceiling. The couple have kept a sample of water, so it can be tested, to identify if it is from a lavatory. Other reports of earlier incidents of items falling from planes can be seen here. Twyford is about 30 km west of Heathrow, on the landing flight path during easterly operations.
There are many other incidents of objects falling from planes, in the UK and elsewhere.
Reports on some of these incidents can be seen here.
Elderly couple shocked after block of ICE ‘from passing plane’ crashes through their roof
By Andy Carswell , Sophie Evans
Audrey and Allen Burt were in another room of their Berkshire home when the slab of ice crashed through their roof on Sunday morning
Shocked: Richard Burt points to the damage caused by the falling block of ice
An elderly couple had a near-miss when a large block of ice believed to be from a passing plane crashed through the roof of their home.
The ice missile – which was apparently ejected from an overhead aircraft when someone pulled the toilet flush – smashed into Audrey and Allen Burt’s home on Sunday morning.
Fortunately, the frail pensioners were in another room of the Berkshire house with their carer son, Richard, and his wife, Ava Hendricks, at the time of the freak incident.
Today, the family – whose home in Twyford is in the flightpath for Heathrow Airport – said they were lucky not to have been killed by the plummeting slab of ice.
They added that a passerby or a driver could have been struck dead if the missile had landed on the road.
“If it had happened in the open and landed on someone, it would have been a fatality,” Richard said.
Damaged: The large slab of ice apparently smashed into one of the family’s bedrooms, leaving cracks in the ceiling
“Imagine what could have happened if it had gone through the roof of a car going down the motorway.
“Coming through at that speed, it certainly could have killed someone. It gives you cause for thought.”
The Burts said their problem was exacerbated by their insurance company saying nobody was available to fix the problem – despite them paying extra for an emergency cover policy.
Instead, they claimed it was left to their local fire brigade to patch up the damage and confirm the water and electric systems at their house were still fine to use.
Richard – who, with his wife, acts as a carer for his parents after their health deteriorated last month – said the elderly couple wouldn’t have been able to deal with the stress of handling the insurance claim.
Mrs Burt has Parkinson’s disease and Richard said he had been left disappointed by what he claimed was a lack of action from his parents’ insurance company, Halifax – whose slogan is ‘the people who give you extra’.
Possible cause? The Burt’s home in Twyford, Berkshire, is in the flightpath for Heathrow
The 60-year-old claimed they had to “haggle long and hard to get them to agree to give a sum of money”, which the family will be passing on to firefighters who came out to help.
“We contacted Halifax, who provide the emergency house insurance cover. Unfortunately, their subcontractors were unable to attend,” he added.
“Because of [this], and with vulnerable parents and not knowing the state of the damage, we had to call the local fire service, who were brilliant.”
The block of ice, measuring around two feet in length, reportedly crashed through the roof of the Burts’ home in Wagtail Close at around 8.30am on Sunday.
Richard said: “We heard this almighty crash and thought something had fallen over in one of the adjacent rooms.
“It was just a mystery for two or three minutes. We didn’t know which room it had occurred in.
“I had been up in the loft the previous day and wondered if I’d left a suitcase on its side and it had fallen over, but my wife saw this big crack in the ceiling.
“Dad just somehow put two and two together very quickly and thought that it was ice from a passing aeroplane. I went out to the garden and could see there was a hole in the roof.
“I don’t know where the idea came from but for someone of 83 it was a very sharp, perceptive observation.”
The trapdoor into the loft had wedged shut so the family were unable to go upstairs and find out what had fallen through the roof.
Richard said: “I could see there was water dripping down the back bedroom ceiling. We had no idea what damage had been done to the water or the electrics, or what debris could have been there.”
Firefighters from Wokingham fire station went to the house at around 1pm after Richard’s fruitless attempts at getting engineers provided by Halifax to come out and inspect the problem.
He said: “Other than the clean break in the roof tiles there was no collateral damage. They demonstrated it was ice that caused the hole in the ceiling, which has been sagging gradually ever since.
“I think it was a first for them.”
The Burts’ home is under the Heathrow flight path.
Richard, who along with his wife had been working as a teacher in the Caribbean until his parents’ health worsened, said he had written to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to suggest airlines ‘should contribute to some kind of insurance cover for these kind of events’.
It is not known if the block was formed by ice accumulating on the outside of the plane or if it came from the sewage system of an aircraft.
The melted block of ice has been kept in a kitchen bowl so that the water can be tested.
A spokesperson for Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax, told the Mirror Online: “We are very sorry that on this occasion our service fell below our usual standards.
“A personal claims consultant has contacted Mr and Mrs Burt and is visiting at 4.30pm today, along with a contractor who will assess the necessary repairs.”