Did mysterious block of ice plummet from aeroplane?

An ice block believed to have fallen from an aeroplane luckily fell far from any populated areas.

An ice block believed to have fallen from an aeroplane luckily fell far from any populated areas.

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A Derbyshire land owner is fascinated by a block of ice the size of a Nintendo which appears to have plummeted from the sky, landing in his fields.

John Holgate, 76, said he was utterly relieved that the horses on the field weren’t iced by the frozen block, believed to have been dislodged from the undercarriage of an aeroplane.

John Holgate was fascinated by the phenomenon, which happens around 25 times a year.

John Holgate was fascinated by the phenomenon, which happens around 25 times a year.

He said it was also incredibly lucky the potentially deadly block didn’t land in a populated area where it could have had serious consequences.

Seeming to be a giant artificial hailstone, the block was clearly formed around a man-made structure and with a circular gap in the middle, and somehow survived its journey from thousands of feet in the sky to a field in Ashleyhay, between Matlock and Belper.

Mr Holgate said: “First thing I thought was if it had hit anybody, it would certainly give them quite a headache.

“I’ve heard about them coming off planes but I’ve never seen one before.

“I was very surprised,” said John, who owns the animal grazing land off Bent Lane, Ashleyhay, and rents to local farmers. “The horses on that field had only been moved out the day before, so it could have been very bad for one of them.”

His friend and neighbour Mark Waterfall was also fascinated by the discovery, and has offered to preserve the block in his freezer in case it is needed for ‘inspection purposes’.

The travel agent, 53, who is also an experienced pilot, added: “I used to do a lot of flying, but not anymore.

“It could have been there for days and been much larger originally – it could have killed someone! But luckily it fell in an unpopulated area.”

“It’s got a hollow section and looks like it’s been frozen to a pole on the undercarriage, so the only way I can see it’s arrived is from an aircraft. We’re certainly on the flight path for East Midlands Airport.”

“It’s sitting comfortably in my freezer should any inspection be required,” he added of the block which was found on Monday, September 14.

The incredibly rare phenomenon has been known to cause serious damage in the past, and one such block ripped through every floor of a house in California only last week.

Clare Pearson of East Midlands Airport confirmed their community relations department would look into the fallen ice but it was unlikely to be from a plane landing in the area.

She added: “Generally you’d be looking at a flight that would be going over rather than to us because it would have to be at a high altitude for ice to form like this.”

The Civil Aviation Authority said: “It is usually assumed that ice falling from the sky is aviation related, however 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 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.”