Stowaway Falls From Kenyan Airliner, Lands in London Residential Garden

The body of a man thought to have been a stowaway has landed in a garden in London after falling from a Kenya Airways flight, police said on July 1.

London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that they received a call on Sunday afternoon, reporting a body discovered in a residential garden in Offerton Road, Clapham.

Officers and medical responders arrived at the scene to find the body of a man, whose identity has yet to be defined. Met Police said a post-mortem examination will be carried out in due course. Enquiries are also underway to establish the full circumstances.

At this point police believe the man was a stowaway and had fallen from the landing gear of an inbound Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi to Heathrow Airport, which is located west of central London and about 13 miles from Clapham.

NTD Photo
A general view of aircraft at Heathrow Airport in front of the London skyline on Oct. 11, 2016. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

“A bag, water and some food were discovered in the landing gear compartment once it landed at the airport,” said Met Police.

Kenya Airways confirmed the incident to local media.

“On Sunday, June 30, a body of a yet to be identified male stowaway landed in a garden in the Borough of Lambeth, south London, suggesting the stowaway was hidden in the undercarriage of the aircraft,” the statement from the airline said, reported the Tuko news website.

The Star in Kenya reported that London police have been in contact with the Kenya High Commission to help identify the person. The aircraft, which landed safely shortly after the incident, underwent an inspection and no damage was reported. It was also cleared for operation.

“The 6,840 km (4,250-mile) flight takes eight hours and 50 minutes. It is unfortunate that a person has lost his life by stowing aboard one of our aircraft and we express our condolences,” a Kenya Airways spokesman told BBC News. “Kenya Airways is working closely with the relevant authorities in Nairobi and London as they fully investigate this case.”

Stowing away in a plane’s undercarriage is exceptionally dangerous, according to The Associated Press. Roughly three-quarters of stowaways do not survive due to the lack of oxygen and the extremely low temperature as the plane reaches cruising altitude.

Though not common, stowaways have in the past plunged to the streets of London as Heathrow-bound planes lowered their landing gear. In September 2012, a 30-year old from Mozambique, Jose Matada, died after falling from the undercarriage of a Heathrow-bound flight from Angola. In August 2012, a man’s body was found in the undercarriage bay of a plane at Heathrow after a flight from Cape Town.