24th Aug 2012 10:30am | By Editor
A dead body was found in an airplane’s landing gear bay as it landed on Heathrow from South Africa on Thursday.
The stowaway had climbed a fence to Cape Town’s airport, run towards the British Airways Jumbo and clung onto it as it took off, bringing him to heaven.
BA spokesman Stephen Forbes said in a statement: “This is a very rare and sad event and our thoughts are with the individual’s family.”
Deidre Davids, a spokeswoman from Airports Company South Africa, said to the Daily Mail: “Last night [Wednesday] at approximately 8.40pm a person was detected scaling the perimeter fence at Cape Town International Airport (CTIA).
“The airport immediately responded and, as a security patrol officer attempted to apprehend the man, he ran in the direction of a British Airways aircraft already in its holding pattern ready for take-off.”
She said the security could not go close to the aircraft for safety reasons and that the still unnamed man was missing after the Boeing 747 had taken off.
According to South African news site IOL, doctors think the ‘mystery man’ had frozen to death within two hours, exposed to temperatures between -40 and -50ºC.
A Cape Town aviation expert told IOL: “He would have been freezing cold and there would have been almost no oxygen for him to breathe.”
Two years ago, a Romanian man survived a one-hour flight between Vienna and Heathrow, hanging on to the wheels, but that trip was 11-and-a-half-times shorter than a trip from Cape Town and the man’s life was saved by the plane flying low because of bad weather, writes the Guardian.
This is not the first time someone tries to hide on a BA plane from Cape Town. In 2007 the frozen corpse of Samuel Benjamin, 17, was found in the wheel housing on a flight to Los Angeles, writes IOL.
Picture via Getty