A suspected frozen ball of human waste which fell on an Indian village may have leaked from an aircraft, officials believe.
The heavy ball of ice landed in a wheat field in the village of Fazilpur Badli in the northern state of Haryana on January 20.
Some villagers reportedly took pieces of the object home and stored it in their fridges believing it could be a valuable meteorite, however experts say they “strongly suspect” it is actually frozen excrement and have sent samples to be tested.
“It was a very heavy icy ball of ice which dropped from the skies early on Saturday morning,” Vivek Kalia, a senior official in the nearby city of Gurgaon, told the BBC.
“There was a big thud and people of the village came running out of their home to find out what had happened.
“Some villagers thought it was an extraterrestrial object. Others thought it was some celestial rock and I’ve heard that they took samples home.”
Discoloured frozen ice which falls from the sky is commonly known as 'blue ice' and can be accidentally leaked from an aircraft.
It could originate from a leak from a faulty seal on a hose socket which is used to load or unload liquid from the aircraft when on the ground, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
“It looks like human waste,” added Mr Kalia to the Times of India. “Still, we are sending it to the forensic lab to know what exactly it is.
“The heavy mass of ice, which is not associated with any type of rainy weather, suggests there is a possibility it might have fallen as frozen toilet water coming out from some aircraft lavatory. There are a number of zig-zagging air routes in this area.”
One resident told the publication: “Villagers who kept it inside their refrigerators are disappointed and are now busy cleaning their houses.”
An Indian court ruled in 2016 that airlines who released human waste from toilets in Indian airspace would be fine 50,000 rupees (£600), enforced through on-the-spot inspections on landing.
There is no way of intentionally emptying the contents of the lavatory during a flight, with all toilet waste held within the aircraft and collected after landing by special vehicles during the preparation for the next flight.
Ice can also form naturally on an aircraft at higher altitudes in sub-zero temperatures and break off as it descends into warmer air.
There are approximately 25 ice falls per year in UK airspace, the CAA reports.