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The body of a suspected stowaway, believed to have fallen from a jet, landed in a south London garden just a meter from a sunbather.
Following the discovery, police were called to an address on Offerton Road, Clapham at 3.39pm on Sunday.
The body – thought to be a man – is believed to have fallen off the landing gear of a Kenya Airways plane as it was preparing to land at Heathrow Airport.
Upon arrival at the airport, a bag, water and some food were discovered in the plane’s undercarriage compartment, Met Police said.
The man is said to have hidden in the landing gear of the Kenya Airways plane. Photo credit: PA
A neighbor tells ITV News what he heard: “I must confess I heard a bang but haven’t heard from it again.”
He added: “The property’s owner, who was sunning himself at this point, is obviously completely shocked.”
A neighbor describes hearing a loud bang on Offerton Road. Photo credit: ITV News
A neighbor also said the man fell just meters away from a resident while sunbathing in his garden.
He said: “I heard a ‘grow’ – I went upstairs to look out the window. At first I thought it was a tramp sleeping in the garden.”
“He [the body] had all his clothes on and everything.
“So I went outside and that’s when the neighbor came out and was very upset.
“He had been sunbathing and landed a meter away from him.”
An autopsy will be carried out in due course, police said, and the person’s age has yet to be determined.
Experts say it’s almost impossible to survive the dangers posed by hiding in the undercarriage compartment.
Peter Archer, an aviation expert, said: “You would think there would be plenty of room, but when the plane lifts off the wheel and the landing gear arm hits 100 miles per hour.”
“As you fly up, the air gets colder and thinner. The flight is like, -50 degrees or so, 20,000 feet or so, there’s not enough oxygen to breathe.”
Aviation expert Peter Archer describes to Neil Connery the dangers of hiding in landing gear gear. Photo credit: ITV News
Investigations are ongoing with the Met’s Southern Central Command Unit and its Air Police Command.
The Met Police said they will work with the airline and international authorities.
The neighbor said a plane spotter who followed the flight via an app from Clapham Common saw the body fall.
The plane spotter arrived almost at the same time as the police and told them it was a Kenyan Airways flight.
The flight was on its way to Heathrow. Photo credit: PA
In 2012, Jose Matada crashed to his death on a British Airways flight from Angola.
Mr Matada, originally from Mozambique, was found on the sidewalk in East Sheen on September 9.
An investigation into his death found he probably survived freezing temperatures of as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius for most of the 12-hour flight.
However, it was assumed he was “dead or nearly dead” when he hit the ground.
In 2015, the body of a man ended up in a Richmond shop after entangling himself in the undercarriage of a plane flying from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Heathrow.