Mysterious object from sky smashes through Waycross woman's roof

Aviation expert believes chunk of ice fell from airplane

By Corley Peel - Reporter

WAYCROSS, Ga. - A Waycross woman found a mysterious object that put a hole in her roof. 

The cause of the damage: A piece of ice larger than a baseball, according to Lena Shiver.

She told News4Jax on Tuesday that she found the chunk of ice after noticing a hole in her roof over the weekend. 

Late Friday evening, Shriver said, she was having a quiet night, sitting in her chair and watching TV, when she heard a loud boom that shook her house.

"Almost 11 o'clock, I heard a big bang and I didn't know what it was, so I looked and thought it was a tree that fell."

But it wasn't. Nor was it storming. When Shiver went outside, she found no signs of damage.

Two days later, Shiver noticed paint chippings on her pool table and a wet spot on her ceiling. 

She reviewed security video, which captured the paint chippings falling from the ceiling as her house shook Friday night.

"I said, 'Well, it must've been something that hit the roof,'" Shiver said. "So I checked the roof and there was a hole in it."

Her grandson looked in the attic, where he found the ice that had fallen through her roof two days prior. 

Shiver saved the block of ice in a freezer bag. When they first found it, she said, it was the size of a baseball. But considering the size of the hole in the roof, they believe it was much larger when it first fell.

"I didn't know what it was," Shiver said. "I thought it was a meteorite or something."

Although the source of the ice is a mystery, News4Jax aviation expert Ed Booth said it's possible it could have come from an aircraft.

Booth believes the chunk of ice could have fallen off an airplane that had a leaky valve. 

"This appears to be water, which the most logical source for this would be the fill port for the portable water system on the aircraft leaking and causing an ice ball to form that breaks off as it descends into warmer air," Booth said.

He said it's not surprising the ice ball would have landed somewhere in Waycross, considering planes flying from Atlanta to Jacksonville fly lower across the city.

"The descent profile coming into Jacksonville International typically takes a commercial jetliner over the town of Waycross at a point where it's descending 16,000 to 12,000 feet," Booth said. "That puts it in warmer air, below the freezing level. It’s a precise time when an ice ball would break off an airplane."

The hole in the roof has since been patched up with plywood. Shiver said she is speaking with an insurance agent and she hopes insurance will cover the damage caused by the piece of ice.

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