Probe after piece of plane hits house

AIR accident experts were today continuing to investigate why a piece of a passenger plane fell out of the sky and hit a house in Suffolk.The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), part of the Department for Transport, has said its report will be made public but it could be some months yet before its finding are complete.

AIR accident experts were today continuing to investigate why a piece of a passenger plane fell out of the sky and hit a house in Suffolk.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), part of the Department for Transport, has said its report will be made public but it could be some months yet before its finding are complete.

Investigators have examined the aircraft - one of more than 1,200 making regular flights over the county each day - and been carrying out tests and interviews to try and find out why the fuselage piece came off the plane as it flew from Helsinki to Stansted Airport.

The AAIB said its aim was to improve aviation safety by determining the causes of such air accidents and to make safety recommendations intended to prevent recurrence - not to apportion blame or liability.

The incident happened on June 17 when a 2.5ft by 1.5ft piece of debris broke away from a Blue 1 aircraft, part of Scandinavian Airlines, and struck the home of Sheena Fisher in Stratford St Andrew.

It dropped from a height of around 20,000ft and caused damage to roof tiles and guttering.

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Just a few hours before the piece of fuselage fell, a church fete had taken place a short distance away from where it landed.

Mrs Fisher said she was in the kitchen at the time and heard a loud thud.

After walking through the house, checking cupboards and doors on the way, she went to the front door to find one of her neighbours standing there holding the piece of plane. They had seen it spiralling down from the sky although there was no sign of the plane.

The jet landed 15 minutes later at Stansted.

The captain of the flight was aware something may have dropped from the plane while he flew over Felixstowe and reported it as soon as he landed. Air traffic control was then informed.

A spokesman for the air transport section of the Department of Transport said the report was still not complete and it was not yet known how long it would take.

“Because of the seriousness of the incident, it is likely to take some time as it will require a thorough investigation. Each inquiry is different and depends on the particular circumstances,” he said.

Aviation experts say the incident was rare and should not cause undue worry about the safety of air travel.