A sleeping family cheated death by inches after a football-sized block of ICE fell from a plane “like concrete” and smashed through their roof.
Patrick Boyle, his wife Rachel and their two teenagers daughters were fast asleep when they were suddenly woken up by what they thought was a BOMB going off.
But when the shaken couple inspected the damage they discovered the projectile had smashed clean through the overhang of their roof before landing in the garden.
The family live on the Stansted Airport flight path in Chelmsford, Essex, and believe the ice fell from a plane.
It left a gaping hole in their roof and was just inches away from Patrick and Rachel’s bedroom ceiling.
Patrick, 49, and teaching assistant Rachel, 41, now face a repair bill of thousands of pounds.
The self-employed businessman said: “I sleep on the other side of that window and it was two feet from me.
“I honestly thought it was a bomb at first – it sounded like an explosion. I’m from Northern Ireland and I’ve heard enough bombs in my time.
“We jumped up and my daughters were squealing. They were all shouting, ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong?’
“I had to remind myself that we’re not in Northern Ireland and it wasn’t a bomb.
“I looked out of my window and saw this bit hanging down. I thought the guttering had fallen off but I went out to check.
“When I went outside I just couldn’t believe it. There was debris everywhere and these huge lumps of ice.
“The chunks were each fist sized when they were broken up, so it must have been the size of a football judging by the size of the hole it left in the roof.”
Patrick, who sells ink cartridges, was shaken-up himself and had to reassure his daughters Rhiannon, 17, and Aioffe, 15.
He said: “If it had have been three or four inches closer it would have gone through the roof and impacted the window, which would have decimated it.
“It was only about ten feet from my youngest daughter’s bedroom and it must have been travelling at a couple of hundred miles an hour.
“What would have happened if it had hit my children? It would be like a huge block of concrete going through the roof and smashing into your head.
“We are lucky to be alive.”
Patrick stored a few pieces of ice in the freezer in case he might need them to prove what had happened, but says they have melted a little since the drama unfolded last Friday night.
Patrick and Rachel have also contacted the Civil Aviation Authority to find out whether the ice could have fallen from an aeroplane.
Ice can form naturally on aircraft flying at high altitudes which falls when the plane descends into warmer air and the ice breaks away.
Patrick added: “They say this happens every now and then but that is quite a blase attitude to have.
“You’ve probably got a bigger chance of winning the lottery than getting hit by a falling block of ice, but if this hit you you wouldn’t survive.
“Sooner or later someone is going to be really unlucky and it could cost them their life. Someone needs to take responsibility.
“I was probably two feet away from being killed and to repair the damage it’s going to cost me thousands of pounds. The roof is ruined.”
The Civil Aviation Authority said it is possible that the ice could have fallen from a plane.
A spokesman said: “Although ice does very occasionally fall from aircraft, it can also be the result of meteorological phenomena.
“We receive around 30 reported ice falls every year, although we are not certain how many of these incidents are the result of ice falling from an aircraft.”
Information on the CAA website states that the authority is not liable for damage and which may be caused as a result of an ice fall.