Belfast Telegraph

Low-flying aircraft blamed following roof tile injury

By Michael Bashford

A Belfast man has claimed that he was injured by a dislodged roof tile caused by a low-flying aircraft in the east of the city.

Dan Melrose said he was hit by the falling tile as he was leaving his house in Parkgate Drive at around 10.05pm on Tuesday evening.

The 47-year-old said he heard an incoming plane which sounded lower and noisier than normal when the incident occurred.

“As the plane came overhead my whole house shook and as I looked up I saw a tile fall towards me,” he said.

“I tried to get out of the way but it clipped the side of my head.”

Mr Melrose said he immediately rang the airport which subsequently sent out a contractor to assess the damage.

“The contractor, who I believe was from Portadown, arrived at around 12.30am. He then made temporary repairs to ensure there was no water damage in case of overnight rain.”

Mr Melrose said he saw his doctor on Wednesday morning who treated him for a pulled neck muscle and gave him painkillers.

A spokeswoman from George Best Belfast City Airport confirmed that they had had the temporary repairs carried out. She added that the airport’s tracking system showed the plane was not low flying and was approaching the airfield in a normal manner.

“The airport is sensitive to the community and environment in which it operates and will repair the damage to the roof as a goodwill gesture. The airport takes reports of this nature seriously and investigation is continuing,” she added.

Just days earlier, a 55-year-old woman from nearby Oval Court said that a low flying aircraft damaged roof tiles at her property.

Jean Wright said she was lucky she wasn't inside the property at the time.

“My neighbour heard the noise and told me when I got home,” she said. “Tiles were sucked off the roof as well as roof insulation, which was lying all over both our gardens.”

Jean confirmed that Connswater Homes, which owns her bungalow, had been out to fix the damage on Tuesday and that the airport had accepted liability for the damage.

“I've had great support from Councillor Robin Newton but I've only had one call from the airport, which was on Saturday, but nothing since.”

Jean said she had become “even more nervous” since last week’s incident. “It's very noisy every day,” she continued.

Again, the airport said that checks proved the aircraft was flying at the correct altitude.

Dr Liz Fawcett, chair of the steering group of the umbrella residents’ group, Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW), said the UK aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, should be called in to investigate both incidents.

Belfast Telegraph


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