NATIONAL: Ice block falls off aircraft and smashes into family's garden

A large block of ice fell from the sky and crashed into a stunned family's back garden where it has left a massive crater.

The ice fell from a plane
The ice fell from a plane

The rock struck the garden of the Helliwell family with a "big boom" and shook their home.

The impact caused a crater measuring 1.4m by 1.2m (4ft 7in by 3ft 11in) in the middle of their lawn with bits of ice scattered across the grass.

There has been no obvious explanation for the freak incident but experts suspect the ice may have formed on the body of a passing aircraft.

The ice fell from a plane

Family friend Eleanor Stephen, 41, was at the Helliwell's home in Busby, Renfrewshire, Scotland, when the ice struck yesterday morning (Tues).

She said: "I was sitting at my desk and heard this big boom. I thought it was an explosion and I felt the house shake.

"When I went downstairs the dog was acting strangely. I looked out of the window and saw a hole with white stuff in it. It was splashed all over the grass.

"I went out and touched it -- I realised it was ice.

The ice fell from a plane

"If anybody had been out in the garden, it could have killed them.

"We just don't know where it came from. It's a complete mystery."

Lyndsey Helliwell, 41, who lives at the home with husband Ross, 51, and daughters Elise, 9, and Nuala, 13, said she was glad that no one was in the garden at the time.

She said: "It's slightly concerning that it was so close to the house, and the dog is constantly out in the garden because it's secluded.

"If it had been Saturday or a Sunday the kids could have been out playing football, or my older daughter could have been playing with Harper [their dog].

"It's metres from the house and the car. But I've spoken to a meteorologist and this sort of thing doesn't happen often.

"The whole thing was covered in ice and there were huge chunks everywhere.

"It's just so huge and so solid."

It is usually assumed that ice falling from the sky is aviation related, but ice falls from aircraft are considered to be relatively rare.

In comparison to the 2.5 million flights a year in UK airspace, approximately 25 ice falls per year are reported to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Some of these instances may occur because ice which has naturally formed on an aircraft at higher altitudes breaks off as it descends into warmer air.

But there have been reports of falling chunks of ice which date back to before the existence of aircraft.

Research into the phenomena is ongoing by scientists across the world but is controversial.