Residents in the West London suburb of Mortlake, woke up Sunday morning to find the body of a man lying in the street after he apparently fell from a passenger plane, on approach to Heathrow Airport.
Sky News reports police suspect the man was hiding in the undercarriage of a plane, believed to be from North Africa, in hopes of sneaking into Britain.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman says they are awaiting autopsy results but, "We can confirm the body found was that of an African male and enquiries are on-going to establish the circumstances surrounding his death."
Residents say they heard a loud bang at about 7:55am Sunday morning and found the crumpled body of the man, lying in the street. Unconfirmed reports suggest the man had landed on a parked car. Residents say there were pools of blood and body parts strewn over a 30-yard area. Annie Williams says,“I heard a monstrous bang. I thought someone had been hit by a car. There were two fellows going to church and they said there’s a dead body in the street.”
Billy Watson tells The Telegraph, “I heard someone outside and looked out of the window at about half past eight and the first thing I saw was this body across the road. Bits of his body were everywhere, and the police were putting their cones by them.”
Richard Taylor, from the British Civil Aviation Authority, suspects the man was dead for the entire journey, either crushed by the landing gear being raised after take-off, from the altitude or frozen by temperatures of -40F. “The chances of survival for a stowaway are very slim, particularly in the recess of the landing gear if someone tried to stowaway there. More likely they would be crushed when the landing gear retracted.” He adds, “I don’t know of anyone who has survived being stowed away on a long-haul flight and it is surprising that so many people still try. When the landing gear comes down at the other end, a couple of miles from the runway and about 2,000ft in the air, if there is a person who had died they would fall out.”
Just last month the body of a man was found in the landing-gear of a British Airways 747 after a flight from Cape Town, South Africa.