Saturday 24 March 2018

Man found on roof of building may have fallen from BA plane

Flowers are laid by a man near where the body was discovered. Photo: PA
Flowers are laid by a man near where the body was discovered. Photo: PA

Victoria Ward in London

A suspected stowaway is thought to have plunged to his death after falling from a plane and landing on a shop in a high street - while another is in hospital after surviving the journey.

The two men are believed to have clung on to a British Airways plane as it flew more than 6,000 miles from Johannesburg in South Africa to Heathrow.

Police are exploring whether the dead man fell from the aircraft as it came into land after a body was discovered on the roof of a shop in Richmond, south west London, which is below the flight path.

It is understood the second man was found unconscious at Heathrow.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "On Thursday 18 June police were called at around 09:35hrs to reports of a body discovered on the roof of a business premises on Kew Road, Richmond.


"The body is so far unidentified and enquiries are ongoing into this and how long it had been at the scene. No next of kin have yet been informed.

"At this time there is no evidence to link the death to the discovery of a stowaway in the undercarriage of a plane at Heathrow Airport; however this is one line of enquiry into identifying the deceased and the circumstances of his death.

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course."

The spokesman added: "At around 08:30hrs earlier that day, police at Heathrow Airport were called to reports of a suspected stowaway on a flight from Johannesburg to Heathrow.

"The man, believed aged 24, was found in the undercarriage of the plane and was taken to hospital. His condition is now described as critical.

"Whilst Heathrow officers believe they know his identity they await its confirmation before releasing any details of his nationality."

Reverend Neil Summers, from the St John the Divine of Richmond church, opposite where the body was found, said he was "shocked" and would lead prayers for the dead man.

He said: "It's shocking, you do not expect these things to happen on your patch really.

"In one sense it's not totally surprising as it's happened before.

"It's very shocking when it's so close to you.

"We are going to say prayers for the people concerned tonight."

A British Airways spokeswoman said: "We are working with the Metropolitan Police and the authorities in Johannesburg to establish the facts surrounding this very rare case." said in a statement: "Officers and the London Ambulance Service attended and found the body of male on the roof of the premises.

"The death is currently being treated as unexplained but early indications are that the body may be that of an airline stowaway."

Irish Independent

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