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.
“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 body of a Kenyan Man has fallen into the BACK GARDEN of a LONDON home.
Metropolitan police were called by the home owner and on investigations it was found to have fallen from the undercarriage of Kenya Airways flight 100 from NAIROBI to LONDON. pic.twitter.com/ZvXGWANSrb
— Rene_the Red (@Reindopree) July 1, 2019
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.
— Emmanuel Igunza (@EmmanuelIgunza) July 1, 2019
“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.”
INCIDENT: The body of a stowaway fell from Kenya Airways #KQ100 (Boeing 787-8 5Y-KZG) yesterday while on final approach to London Heathrow from Nairobi. A bag, food & water were found in the wheel bay of the aircraft when inspected at the gate. https://t.co/19NSwjhUdl pic.twitter.com/wjxO2V2lfz
— Airport Webcams (@AirportWebcams) July 1, 2019
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.