The incident took place in Kelowna, B.C., about 150 miles east of Vancouver. Susan Allan, 53, said she and her 21-year-old son, Travis Sweet, had just returned from having lunch with her mother when a smelly substance suddenly fell on her vehicle, covering their faces and hitting another vehicle while both were stopped at a light. She believes it was from a plane that she saw while stopped there. She and the other driver went to a carwash to spray everything off before she called the Kelowna airport.
"All we want people to know is that it was quite devastating to be covered in poop and I hope it never happens to anybody else," Allan told The Canadian Press. Transport Canada confirmed it is looking into the possibility that the substance was frozen lavatory waste that fell from an airplane.
Modern airplanes are equipped with vacuum toilets that rely on the difference in atmospheric pressure outside the plane and the de-pressurized cabin to open a valve and suck everything into a tank in the tail of the aircraft. At low altitudes, the system uses a blower to flush the contents. The waste valve is located on the fuselage, where only ground crews can operate it and empty it at special facilities at airports.
But occasionally, the holding tank or valves develop a leak, and the mixture of human waste and blue chemicals freezes to the outside of the plane at high altitudes, breaking off and tumbling to Earth in solid or melted liquid form. That was the case in 2015 when a Pennsylvania family was holding their daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party when feces fell from the sky, splattering everywhere. In 2013, a woman in England claims a frozen yellow chunk of urine from a plane crashed through the roof of her mobile home. Mythbusters also did a segment that ultimately confirmed the "myth" of blue ice.
Aviation officials sometimes point the finger at other culprits.
"We at the Chicago O'Hare FSDO receive many telephone calls and FAA Hotline complaints regarding blue water or blue ice, especially during autumn," the Federal Aviation Administration says on its O'Hard website. "The calls are mostly from people who live under one of the main flight paths into Chicago O'Hare International Airport or Chicago's Midway Airport." They surmise that the phenomenon may sometimes be down to flocks of migrating birds that eat blue-colored fruits from trees.