California family believes human waste fell on home from airplane

STUDIO CITY, Calif. (CNN/KCAL) – A family in Southern California says they saw, and smelled, what appeared to be human waste falling out of an airplane and it landed on their back porch.

Sitting right under the flight path for the Burbank airport, one Studio City home gets its fair share of sights and sounds. But Michelle Steinberg’s family has never been bothered by overhead smells.

“Nothing quite as bad as what happened yesterday afternoon!” Michelle said.

Yesterday afternoon, while Michelle’s 11-year-old daughter, Ellie and her good friend Gianna were swimming in the backyard, they say they saw a low-flying airplane pass over.

Ellie said, “All of a sudden we smell this horrible stench.”

“I thought the smell was fertilizer maybe from the neighbor’s yard,” Gianna explained.

Another concerned neighbor saw the same thing and snapped a photo.

“It was much lower than a plane should be flying,” Gianna said

Immediately after, they found foul-smelling droplets all over their back porch. “Just splatters of brown everywhere,” Ellie said.

The girls said there was no mistaking what it was. “It was definitely waste,” Gianna said.

KCAL9 News asked the Burbank airport. They said it was a matter for the FAA to investigate. The FAA said they received the family’s report and will look into it.

In the meantime, Michelle collected a sample with a q-tip and started her own investigation. She thinks human waste may have fallen out of an airplane lavatory.

“I’ve done a little bit of googling since it happened of course and people say oh, they can’t dump, that’s not how the systems work,” Michelle said. “But, there could be leaks. There could be cracks. There could be problems in the plane, so…”

She’s thinking it could have been an accident. “Ideally, they get whatever is wrong fixed so it doesn’t happen to anybody else.”

Gianna said, “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh hopefully nothing happens in the future where it will like, hit us!’”

“Or something that will, like, damage our health,” Ellie said.

For now, the girls are waiting for answers and Michelle is cleaning up. She said, “We kind of just hosed down but I know you have to do a much more thorough cleaning when it’s human waste.”

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