A Mississauga man says he and his family are lucky to be safe after a large boulder of ice, believed to have fallen from an airplane, crashed through the roof of his home, landing steps away from his bed.
Tony Caccavo told Global News that his wife heard a loud bang at around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday and saw the damage inside the closet of their bedroom. He said she called him and he returned to their home, located near Winston Churchill Boulevard and The Collegeway about 20 kilometres south of Toronto Pearson International Airport, to see what happened.
“At first I thought that I had a leak in the roof and then it built up the ice, and then it fell off,” Caccavo said.
“But when I came home after my wife called, I saw the hole and I said, ‘No way, that must have come from the air.’”
He said the force of the impact threw a few of the ice chunks under the bed several feet away.
WATCH: Large chunk of ice crashes through Mississauga home
“I was going nuts. I said, ‘What the hell?’ We’re not safe here, even being at home sleeping. One minute can change everything. We are very lucky in a way,” Caccavo said.
He said they are waiting for answers from officials about what happened. Caccavo said his insurance company has agreed to cover most of the damage.
According to archived flight data on the airport’s website, a Boeing 767-300 flying to Toronto from Las Vegas flew over Caccavo’s neighbourhood at 6:29 a.m.
Air Canada Flight 1854 from Las Vegas was estimated to have arrived at Pearson airport at 6:56 a.m. An Air Canada spokesperson told Global News they weren’t aware of any of the company’s airplanes being involved in “this type of situation.”
WestJet Flight 1119 from Las Vegas was estimated to have arrived at Pearson airport at 6:53 a.m. A spokesperson for the airline was unavailable for comment Wednesday evening.
Global News contacted Transport Canada, the federal department with responsibility for aviation, Wednesday evening to ask about the incident, but officials weren’t available to comment.
A spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, the agency responsible for investigating major incidents involving all major modes of transportation, told Global News that as of Wednesday evening, officials weren’t investigating.
When asked about the damage, aviation expert Jock Williams said it’s highly likely the ice came from an airplane.
“It takes a mile of falling to get the kind of velocity that you’d need to penetrate a roof,” he told Global News.
“A five-pound object dropping from 10,000 feet – or 20,000, or whatever — will go through any house or roof you want to put up.”
Williams said ice buildup on planes doesn’t form in boulders like the ones shown by Caccavo, but rather in thin sheets. He speculated on a couple of causes for the ice falling.
“Maybe when they cycled the gear down to land, then a hunk of the ice was knocked free,” he said, adding there may have been a leak point in the landing gear well.
The other theory was that uncontaminated liquid pumped into the lavatory system by personnel on the ground may have built up just inside the compartment door and came free during the flight.
“All you need is a little bit of turbulence,” Williams said.
“It throws a hunk of ice that weighs a couple of pounds against a very thin, aluminum door. It opens the door, the ice falls out, the door falls back into place and is pushed in by the air pressure.”
He said this type of incident isn’t unheard of, adding there could be many more incidents in unoccupied areas.
“There are probably a lot more of these things then we know about because the ice lands in somebody’s backyard or it lands in some place nobody ever finds it,” Williams said.
— With files from Kamil Karamali