THE body of a plane stowaway has landed in the garden of a South London home after falling from the underside of a Kenya Airways flight.
The gruesome discovery was made at a property in Offerton Road, Clapham, at around 3.40pm on Sunday and police have launched an investigation.
The body of a stowaway migrant plunged 3,500ft into the back garden of a Clapham home as the tenant sunbathed.
The man fell from the undercarriage of the plane, as it headed towards Heathrow.
It is believed the man fell from the landing gear compartment of the plane shortly before the flight was due to land at Heathrow Airport.
A bag, water and food were later found in the compartment by police.
Neighbours said the falling body narrowly missed landing on a sunbather in his 20s as it smashed to the ground.
His friend, who was inside the house, said: “He didn’t even realise what it was to begin with. He was asleep and then there was a huge impact.
“The body literally landed one metre away from him and was obliterated. My friend was very shaken.
“There were a few of us in the house at the time and it was lucky only one of us was in the garden.
“Nobody would have survived being hit. The impact was horrific.”
“The body literally landed one metre away from him and was obliterated. My friend was very shaken”
The sunbather, who rents the house with friends, has left London and is staying with his family.
Kenya Airways said: “It is unfortunate that a person has lost his life by stowing aboard one of our aircraft and we express our condolences.”
The 6,840km flight from Nairobi to Heathrow “takes eight hours and 50 minutes,” it added.
The flight left Kenya at around 7.20am on Sunday and landed at Heathrow at 3.50pm.
The body landed in the garden around 10 minutes before the plane landed.
In a statement, the Met confirmed: “Police believe the man was a stowaway and had fallen from the landing gear of an inbound Kenya Airways flight to Heathrow Airport.
“A bag, water and some food were discovered in the landing gear compartment once it landed at the airport.”
It is not known for certain whether the stowaway was dead at the time he fell but he would have had to survived almost nine hours starved of oxygen at temperatures of around -60C.
MAN’S IDENTITY NOT KNOWN
Scotland Yard said “officers are working to establish the identity of a man believed to have fallen from the landing gear compartment of an aeroplane”.
Police were called at 3.39pm on Sunday, June 30, to a residential address in Offerton Road, Clapham, after the body was discovered in a garden.
Officers attended with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service.
The Met said that the age of the victim, “believed to be a man”, was not as yet known.
However a post-mortem examination will be carried out in due course.
Police are working to establish the man’s identity, and a crime scene was put in place but has since been closed.
The death is not being treated as suspicious, the Met said.
Citizen Digital said that after discovering the stowaway’s body, the London property owner called cops, who used a flight tracker to determine that the man had fallen from Kenya Airways KQ 100.
The airline said: “The incident has been treated as a sudden death and is now a police matter.
“The [Met] police have already been in contact with the Kenya High Commission to help identify and name the person.”
LACK OF OXYGEN
The aircraft has apparently already been cleared for operation after being inspected at Heathrow, and no damage was reported, says Citizen Digital.
Met Police enquiries are continuing, led by the South Central Command Unit and the Met’s Aviation Policing Command.
Officers will be liaising with the airline and international authorities.
News agency, the Associated Press, explains that stowing away is exceptionally dangerous.
Experts believe that about three-quarters of stowaways don’t survive because of the extreme cold and lack of oxygen as the plane reaches cruising altitude.
By Debbie White