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I was hit by roof tile dislodged by jet, claims Belfast resident

George Best Belfast City Airport is facing further pressure to launch an independent inquiry into aircraft safety after an east Belfast man claimed he was injured by a roof tile dislodged by a passing plane.

Don Melrose, who lives on Parkgate Drive, says he was hit on the top of the head by a falling slate just as he was about to leave his property on Tuesday night.

He claims around six tiles were blown off as the aircraft made its landing approach just after 10pm.

The plane also caused roof slates to dislodge from the home of his next door neighbour Natasha McCready, it’s claimed.

It comes after roof tiles were blown off a bungalow in nearby Oval Court on Saturday.

Mr Melrose said he felt the aircraft which passed over on Tuesday night was flying much lower than normal.

“The whole house just started to shake, then I heard a bang, turned round, took a couple of steps and that’s when one of them hit me,” Mr Melrose said. “I managed to duck back into the house but it still caught me on the top of my head and deflected on to my back.”

Ms McCready (22) also said she felt the plane was flying lower than normal. “I just heard this loud thundering sound and I looked out the window,” she explained.

“A neighbour had to call my aunt to tell me the tiles had fallen off the roof at the back of the house.”

A spokesman from Belfast City Airport rejected claims that the aircraft caused the tiles to dislodge, but added the airport was investigating the incidents.

“The airport’s track monitoring system which closely plots the height and trajectory of aircraft approaching and departing the airport has been examined. It found that the aircraft in question was not low flying and was approaching the airfield in a normal and uniform manner,” he said.

The Belfast City Watch Steering Group wants an independent body to carry out an assessment on aircraft flightpaths.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told the Belfast Telegraph that it would be willing to carry out a detailed investigation into the flightpaths for aircraft flying into the City Airport but would need to be asked by the airport first.

The airport spokesman said it had already reported the three incidents to the CAA and that it was carrying out its own investigation but “if deemed appropriate we would consider asking the CAA to investigate”.

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