Ice block from aircraft smashes into home in Chichester

A huge block of ice believed to have fallen from an aircraft crashed through the roof of a property in West Sussex as the homeowners slept.

Vince Foote and his wife were in bed when the ice smashed a 2ft (0.6m) hole in the roof at Summerdale Court, Chichester, just before 0200 BST.

Tiles and debris were strewn 30ft (9.1m) as the massive block landed in the couple's spare bedroom.

Mr Foote said they were in a state of shock at what had happened.

He said: "I thought at first it was thunder and I got up to investigate.

"I tried to open the spare bedroom door and it wouldn't move.

"When I forced it open I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"There was an enormous hole in both the roof and bedroom ceiling and there were great chunks of ice everywhere."

He said he felt like they had had a lucky escape and that the room was often used by their grandchildren which was a "terrifying thought".

He added: "It is a such a freak accident, but it could have been so much worse."

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said a build-up of ice usually occurred in the seals of the exterior pipes where water is pumped into the aircraft.

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

He said it was rare for chunks to fall as they normally dissipate into the atmosphere and added there were only about 30 such incidents reported each year.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said it was one of the strangest incidents they had been called to.

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