Back on September 2, Petaluma resident Debbie Payne heard a loud crash and felt the entire home shake, also catching the attention of a nearby neighbor. After searching around the house, Ms. Payne discovered a large 9-inch hole in the roof as well as two window screens sliced open. Laying on the ground nearby, the neighbor found the remnants of a two pound Canon 24-105mm lens designed for DSLR camera like the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. Ms. Payne mailed in a police report and Petaluma law enforcement officials are attempting to locate the owner of the lens using the serial number.
Ms. Payne didn’t recall seeing or hearing any low flying aircraft before the crash, but police are checking with the local airport and officials at the FAA to determine which aircraft the lens could have broken off from and plummeted to the ground. FAA officials have heard of plane parts or chunks of ice breaking off aircraft and falling to the ground, but the chances of linking the lens to an aircraft are slim. The cost of repairing the damage to the roof and the screens is going to run the insurance company $4,500 according to bids from contractors. Ms. Payne is being forced to pay the $1,000 deductible for the repair, but hopes to reclaim that money if the owner of the lens can be tracked down.
While Ms. Payne is unhappy about the unexpected expense, she’s glad that no person was injured at the time of the crash. Her house is positioned about 200 feet away from an elementary school, a possible deadly scenario if the path of the falling lens had taken a slightly different course. Besides airplanes, police are also looking into hot-air balloons which are known to fly in the area. However, a slowly escaping hot-air balloon would have likely been spotted by a resident within the neighborhood.
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