Vortex of air from plane ripped holes in home's roof

Vortex of air from plane ripped holes in home's roof

Francis Batt

Vortex of air from plane ripped holes in home's roof

A 'wave of swirling air' from a plane ripped a hole in the roof of an Old Windsor home yesterday evening.

"I heard this huge explosion and thought it was a clap of thunder," said Patricia Hills. "Then a neighbour came rushing over and said 'did you know there is a hole in your roof?"

The hole in Patricia's roof - believed to be caused by a whirl of swirling air

Shocked Mrs Hills who lives in Gregory Drive, walked out of her home yesterday to see what she describes as a war zone. Big holes had been gouged in the tiles on two areas of her roof with another hole in the tiles lower down.

The drama happened shortly before 6pm.

Patricia Hills pictured outside her Old Windsor home
"It sounded like a whoosh."

Neighbour Peter Green said: "Our houses are semi-detached so I must have been about 15 yards away from where it happened. I heard it clearly in my study. It souded like a whoosh, then a loud bang and clattering as tiles scattered everywhere."

The force sent tiles crashing into the road outside, scattering as far as 20 ft, smashing the headlights and denting the frontage of the Ford Fiesta car belonging to Mr Green's wife Darlene.

Unsure what to do next Mrs Hills, who has been living in Old Windsor since 1966 and in the house for 10 years, called the fire brigade. She said: "They were marvellous and helped clear away the worst of the debris, it looked like a war zone before they arrived."

They also put a safety tape round the front of the house.

Mr Green is an airline pilot himself and initally believed the damage may have been caused by ice from an incoming plane.

But a spokesman for BAA said this afternoon that an assessor had been to Mrs Hills' house and the company would be sending contracters to replace her damaged roof tomorrow.

He said the damage had not been caused by ice or a solid object but by a 'wave of vortex', a vortex of swirling air that could follow an aeroplane and in rare instances cause the sort of damage seen in Old Windsor.

He said: "It is rare but we have a policy of carrying out repairs where this has happened to people."

Mrs Hills said: "BAA have acted honourably and I'm very pleased at their quick response."


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