The body of a stowaway fell from the sky near London’s Heathrow Airport and reportedly landed in a garden next to a shocked sunbather.
- Police say the man fell out of the landing gear of a Kenya Airways plane
- A neighbor recalls hearing a “boom” as the man landed in a London garden
- Kenya Airways describes the incident as “unfortunate” and says it will work closely with the relevant authorities
The man, who has not been identified, likely fell from the undercarriage of a Kenya Airways plane en route to Heathrow Airport, according to the Metropolitan Police Service.
Officers confirmed on duty were called to a home in Clapham, south London, on Sunday after the man’s body was found.
“At this time, police believe the man was a stowaway and fell from the undercarriage of an incoming Kenya Airways flight to Heathrow Airport,” police said in a statement.
“A bag, water and some food were discovered in the landing gear compartment when it landed at the airport.”
Speaking to the BBC, a neighbor who asked not to be identified said the man fell a meter away from another resident who was sunning himself in the garden.
He recalled hearing a “wump” before spotting “blood all over the walls of the garden.”
“So I went outside and right at that moment the neighbor came out and he was very upset,” the man said.
In a statement, Kenya Airways described the incident as “unfortunate” and said it was working closely with authorities in Nairobi and London to investigate the case.
Blind passengers have little chance of survival
It is not the first such fatality on flights to Heathrow.
Bodies were previously found on the streets of London’s Richmond and Kew boroughs, below the point where many jets open their landing gear doors to park their wheels on approach to Heathrow.
Many aircraft open their landing gear doors over the London Boroughs of Richmond and Kew. (Reuters: Eddie Keogh)
In 2015, the body of a man was discovered on the roof of a building in south-west London after falling from the undercarriage of a plane as it landed from South Africa.
Three years earlier, a Mozambique man had fallen from the undercarriage of a plane bound for Heathrow from Angola onto a road under the flight path near Richmond.
An inquest found he may have survived most of the flight in freezing temperatures, but was “dead or nearly dead” by the time he hit the ground.
Experts said the chances of a stowaway avoiding being crushed by the wheels during takeoff retraction or being frozen to death in flight are very slim.