As It Happens

'So much poop': Transport Canada investigating after human feces rains down on B.C. woman

Sue Allan says human feces dropped onto her from a plane last month while she was driving with the sunroof open.

'I had it in my eyes, my hair. We were inundated,' says Sue Allan

That's not bird poop. Sue Allan and her car were covered after human feces fell from the sky from a plane. (Submitted by Sue Allan)

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Transport Canada says it is investigating a case involving human feces possibly falling from an airplane, and dropping onto a Kelowna woman's car. 

Last month, Sue Allan and her son were driving back from lunch with her mother when they stopped at a red light. The sunroof was open and the spring air filled the car. Then, something happened.

"We were inundated with poop," Allan told As It Happens guest host Susan Bonner. "You could feel drops falling from the sky — hitting our face, inside the car, all over the windshield."

It wasn't until she looked at the car next to her that Allan realized what had happened. The driver pointed up to the sky where a low-flying plane was coasting just over the airport.

"That's when we realized it was a plane flying over that had dropped poop on top of us," Allan said.  "I had it in my eyes, my hair ... There was so much poop."

Sue Allan went to the doctor after the incident and found out that she had conjunctivitis in both eyes. (Submitted by Sue Allan)

Allan and her son drove to the nearest car wash in shock. They sprayed each other off and washed their vehicle.

"I just started crying. It was disgusting," Allan recalled. "My son threw up instantly. I was just gagging from the smell. It smelt horrific."

Allan was worried she might have contracted something so she went to the doctor the next day. After a swab was taken, Allan learned she had conjunctivitis in both eyes. She has been using eye drops ever since.

Allan said that Transport Canada initially told her that no planes flew over the area where the incident occurred.

"Now they are doing an official investigation because there has been many reports since in the area of people being covered or vehicles being covered in feces," Allan said.

Allan also spoke with officials at the airport who explained frozen lavatory waste, known as "blue ice," might be to blame.

This could be a much different circumstance than just poop in my eye, you know?- Sue Allan

In a statement sent to As It Happens, a spokesperson from Transport Canada wrote that it is "collecting and reviewing information" specific to Allan's case.

The department also provided an explanation about the plane's washroom facilities, explaining that aircraft are equipped with an enclosed sewage holding tank that is designed to be emptied at special facilities at airports. It added that if a valve malfunctions, this can result in the tank leaking. 

"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," Transport Canada wrote in the statement. 

"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."

Sue Allan says she has since scrubbed off the feces from her car, but still wants her car professionally cleaned. (Submitted by Sue Allan)

Allan says her husband fixed the air conditioning in her car so she doesn't have to drive with the sunroof open.

Now, she wants her car professionally cleaned even though she scrubbed it down with help from her granddaughters.

"We used bleach and peroxide and cleaned the poop that was there. Then they just covered it with perfume — so now it smells like Calvin Klein One," Allan quipped.

But joking aside, Allan said she is shaken by what happened.

"I feel they should compensate me for the injuries. What if it had let go in a big chunk? What if it went through my son's head and killed him? What if it came through my head and killed me?" Allan said.

"This could be a much different circumstance than just poop in my eye, you know?"

Written by John McGill. Interview with Sue Allan produced by Emilie Quesnel.