Three raw chicken parts rained down from the sky on a teenager Cassie Bernard, who was taking a horseback riding lesson in Virginia Wednesday. She got hit by the smallest of the parts, a foot-long piece. She was not hurt because she was wearing a helmet.
According to USA Today, a group of teenagers, including Cassie Bernard, were taking advanced horseback riding lessons from Jennifer Cording on Queen Hive Farm when the incident happened.
Everybody looked up to see where the chicken came from but there were no clues in the sky.
USA Today reports that Jennifer Cording, owner of Queen Hive Farm, said: "Three objects fell out of the sky in front of us, two larger and one quite small."
The Huffington Post reports that the nearest meat processing plant to Queen Hive Farm is Tyson Foods Inc. The company, however, said the chicken parts did not come from their plant.
According to Tyson Foods Inc. spokesman Worth Sparkman, "When we transport by-products, our trucks are loaded inside (and) are covered with tarps." He also explained that vehicles carrying byproducts are unloaded only in covered areas of the plant and are washed after they are emptied.
The Daily Mail reports he added: "We can tell you we don’t have the only poultry plant in the area."
Bryan D. Watts, avian expert with the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary, said that high flying seagulls could have dropped the parts.
According to USA Today, Watts said: "I doubt it would be vultures because they don't typically carry things and they don't regurgitate in the air. It's more likely gulls, which we know carry chicken parts."
Watts said that the main concern about poultry parts falling from the sky is that "the parts are supposed to be disposed of or covered. They are not supposed to be available to scavengers."
According to the Daily Mail, Bruce Penland, who works at the farm, buried the parts. He said they were "very fresh piece of chicken skin with no meat on it... It looked like pieces of eviscerated chicken.They were about one to one and a half feet long and narrow stripy sort of skins." He commented, however, that the parts appeared too heavy for a seagull to carry.
The Daily Mail reports that Land Protection Manager Milton Johnston, of the department of Tidewater Office, said the parts possibly came from improperly composted dead chickens. Officials said this was the first time they have had such complaint. Johnston remarked: "We can't have pieces of chicken falling out of the sky."
Cording said that after the incident, one of her horses ran away with the rider and another crashed while attempting to jump. She remarked: "It was one of those things around here that gives us something to talk about." She added: "It was a weird night."
USA Today reports that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says its officials will investigate the incident.