Man falls from aeroplane, narrowly missing London sunbather

Police are working to identify the body of a suspected stowaway who fell from a Kenya Airways flight over London.

    Kenya Airways called the death 'unfortunate' and said the company was investigating [File: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters]
    Kenya Airways called the death 'unfortunate' and said the company was investigating [File: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters]

    The body of a suspected stowaway fell hundreds of metres from a plane flying over southwest London, United Kingdom, landing in the garden of a man's home as he sunbathed.

    Police said it was recovered from the Clapham garden after apparently falling from the landing gear casing of a Kenya Airways flight bound for London's Heathrow airport on Sunday afternoon. 

    "Our neighbour was sunbathing in the garden at the time and the man landed a metre away," local resident David Carmalt told the London Evening Standard newspaper.

    "It's a miracle no one else was killed," he said. "Our sympathies are with our neighbour and the poor man ... You wonder how desperate someone has to be to try to stow away on a plane."

    It is believed the man fell from the plane as it lowered its wheels on approach to the airport.

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    London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Monday it was trying to identify the man who is suspected to have boarded the plane in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

    "A bag, water and some food were discovered in the landing gear compartment once [the plane] landed at the airport," police said, adding that the death is not being treated as suspicious.

    Kenya Airways said in a statement that the airline was working with authorities to investigate the case.

    "It is unfortunate that a person has lost his life by stowing aboard one of our aircraft and we express our condolences," the statement read.

    Desperate journeys

    Stowaways have previously landed in trees and on shop roofs in London after falling from planes on the approach to Heathrow.

    Many were dead before they fell because of the freezing temperatures and lack of oxygen outside the aircraft's pressurised passenger cabin.

    Jose Matada fell to his death in 2012 from a British Airways flight from Angola. He had not been reported missing and it took six months to identify him.

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    The inquest into his death heard he endured temperatures of between minus 50 and minus 60 Celsius and suffered a lack of oxygen before he fell. 

    In 2015, the body of a stowaway on a British Airways flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Heathrow landed on a shop in Richmond, southwest London. 

    A second stowaway survived the 10-hour flight and was later found in the undercarriage of the plane. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies