'Massive explosion' alarmed worshippers at Mass on Sunday

Worshippers attending Mass at Brentwood Cathedral in Essex had a rude experience when a large block of ice fell through the roof during the Eucharistic Prayer.

Fr James Mackay told BBC Essex: “Last Sunday just gone, I was celebrating Mass and halfway through there was a massive explosion to the west side of the cathedral. Everything was stopped as we heard this. I turned to my left to see lots of slate and white stuff falling from the roof. After a couple of seconds of shocked pause, I said: ‘Right, let’s crack on.’ And we did.”

Fr Mackay said: “It became clear later on that it was actually a block of frozen refuse that dropped from an aeroplane. We could see the damage – it fell straight through the slate… It was a bit of an adventure.”

The hole in the roof was repaired the following day.

Such incidents are rare because airplanes are not supposed to dump their waste mid-flight.

It is not the first time frozen waste has smashed into a place of worship. A block of ice from an aircraft damaged Essex Church, a Unitarian chapel in west London, in 1971.