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Near-impossible odds behind ice boulder that fell from Thomas Cook plane heading for Birmingham Airport

Near-impossible odds behind ice boulder that fell from Thomas Cook plane heading for Birmingham Airport

People have been shocked, and not a little worried, by a man's near-death experience when a huge ice boulder crashed through his roof and destroyed his bedroom.

Jamie Shean has been counting his lucky stars after the chunk of ice, crashing through the roof of his Lockleaze flat and landed on his bed moments before he was planning to get in it.

Jamie is extremely lucky to have not been hit himself, and almost certainly killed, exactly how unlucky was Jamie to have his house hit in the first place?

After what sounded like an explosion Jamie found a gaping hole in his roof and his bed effectively destroyed as if from the projectile – large blocks of ice bigger than his hand.


Ice falling from the sky – what are the chances?

There are generally considered two possible reasons why this might happen. One is the largely unexplained phenomenon and terrifyingly-named megacryometeors.

But it was not so much that it was at higher altitudes.

The Civil Aviation Authority says that for the 2.5m flights that go through UK airspace every year, there were 25 reported cases in 2017 or ice falling from the sky.

Moment TUI plane forced to land sideways at Bristol Airport

There is a high likelihood there have been other incidents in fields, water and other remote places that are not reported.

But going from those stats there is a 0.00001 per cent chance one of the planes hovering above will drop a significant amount of ice in a populated area.

Also if you compare the number of homes in the UK – 25million – that means there is one in a million home. That's if all 25 reported cases last year fell on someone's home.

There are huge variations to consider, such as flight paths and population centers.

A Thomas Cook flight from Banjul in Gambia flew south to north directly over Jamie's home at 10.17pm.

When it passed overhead it was at 31,025ft and flying at 519 knots before descending to land at an airport in the West Midlands.

What the bookies say

We are chatted to people far more mathematically gifted than ourselves. Namely bookies Paddy Power.

Egg heads at the betting firm put the phenomenon's chances of happening as a staggering 500 million to one.

To put that into context, the company says, it means you're 41 times more likely to be a shark than have a sink-shaped block of ice fall into your house.

Spokesman Paddy Power said: "When we heard about the man from Bristol who had some ice fall through his roof – we had to get a chunk of the action.

"It's not every day, in fact, this happening is much less likely than being bitten by a shark or a bear, Tupac being found alive, or even winning the lottery.

"So long as the man is okay, we're amazed that this has happened – it's weird we see an event with odds this big!"

Put in perspective, Paddy Power shows us how more likely it is for other unlucky incidents to happen to you.

Reporting an ice fall and claiming on insurance


The Civil Aviation Authority takes reports of falling as part of its Mandatory Occurrence Reporting system which helps to understand any safety hazards.

If you have experienced it, you can report it on their website.

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Latest Bristol Airport news

It says on its website: "While we are going to record the details of your report, we are unable to investigate the potential and provide feedback to you.

"The CAA has no liability for any damage, but it is important that you contact your local insurance company. any claim. "

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