Waste from plane falls on home in Calif.

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 11:50 AM EDT
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STUDIO CITY, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS) - A family in Southern California says they saw - and smelled - what appeared to be human waste falling out of an airplane.

It landed on their back porch.

Sitting right under the flight path for the Burbank Airport, the 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,” she said Monday.

While her 11-year-old daughter Ellie and her friend Gianna were swimming in the backyard, they saw a low-flying plane pass over.

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

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

Immediately after, they found foul-smelling droplets all over their porch. They say there was no mistaking what it was.

“Just splatters of brown everywhere,” Ellie said.

A spokesperson from the Burbank Airport said it was a matter for the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate. The FAA said they received the family’s report and will look into it.

In the meantime, Michelle Steinberg collected a sample with a cotton swab 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,’” she said. “But there could be leaks. There could be cracks. There could be problems in the plane.”

She’s thinking it could have been an accident.

“Ideally, they get whatever is wrong fixed, so it doesn’t happen to anybody else,” she said.

For now, the girls are waiting for answers, and Michelle Steinberg is cleaning up.

“We kind of just hosed down, but I know you have to do a much more thorough cleaning when it’s human waste,” she said.

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