Image: Contributed by Susan Allan

Image: Contributed by Susan Allan

Researcher suggests ‘poopsicle’ theory for B.C. woman hit by falling feces

Rob Young, with UBCO, says frozen feces could have formed on the outside of the plane

A “poopsicle” forming on a plane, then melting as the plane reached a lower altitude is one researcher’s suggestion on why a Kelowna woman was hit by, what she believes to be, falling feces a few weeks ago.

Kelowna resident Susan Allan said she was in her car with her son in the early afternoon of May 9. She was stopped at the street lights on Spall Road and Bernard Avenue when an unwelcome deluge covered her car and came through the open sunroof.

“We were parked at the lights when the ‘sky poop’ starting falling,” said Allan. “It got all over my car, it got all over (me) and got on my son, inside my vehicle. It was definitely falling from the sky.”

Rob Young, earth and environmental sciences professor for UBC Okanagan, said the feces likely froze from a leak at higher altitudes.

“If it started as being kind of a poopsicle on the bottom of a plane, then it could easily thaw and become liquid as it came down.”

Young said it’s likely it would have to be frozen to accumulate a smaller ice mass, otherwise, it would have just sprayed off the edge of the plane.

“There are many examples of things coming crashing to earth… smaller amounts will likely completely evaporate. You see this in rain when you see clouds off in the distance and there’s grey trails coming out but there’s no rain reaching the earth. You can imagine the same thing would happen with some of the poopcicles.”

Another earth and environmental sciences professor at the university, Bernie Bauer, agrees with the theory.

“At low altitude, a bilge dump such as this would not have much time (distance) to disperse, and given the evident viscosity of such a mixture, it would not have dissipated into widespread drops (like raindrops). So it could have come down like a slurry of sorts,” he said via email.

Transport Canada declined to comment further on the incident as an investigation is ongoing, however, a spokesperson spoke generally about incidents that have happened which align with the professor’s theory.

“Frozen lavatory waste is referred to as blue ice. Aircraft that have washroom facilities onboard are equipped with an enclosed sewage holding tank that is designed to be emptied at special facilities at airports. It is possible that a valve malfunction and allows some leakage of the tank’s content. If this happens, the liquid seeping from valves freezes and adheres to the outside of the aircraft when the aircraft is flying at high altitudes,” Daniel Savoie, with media relations for Transport Canada.

“As the aircraft starts its descent and the atmosphere gets warmer, the ice will start to melt and pieces will detach themselves from the aircraft. These pieces of ice will either melt or remain in their solid state before hitting the ground.”

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Susan Hill with her dog Sadie enjoy a brisk walk this week at Scout Island where the lake is beginning to freeze over as overnight and daytime temperatures remain well below zero. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Overnight lows of -18C in the forecast for Williams Lake Friday

Colder temperatures will persist through the weekend and next week

Email editor@wltribune.com
LETTERS: Worship can take place outside of churches

Williams Lake city council needs to mind its own business

Edward Koepke holds up a rainbow trout he caught at Dewar Lake. (Photo submitted)
Ice fishing at Dewar Lake on the chopping block

Ministry staff are eyeing the popular spot for a brood lake

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Most Read