One man is dead and another hospitalized after attempting to stowaway on British Airways flight from Johannesburg to London.
A British Airways stowaway is clinging to life this morning as investigators piece together what led to the death of his travel companion.
CNN reports the two men were stowed away in the a undercarriage Boeing 747 from Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) when one fell from the plane Thursday, landing on the roof of a shop in Kew, West London.
The unidentified man reportedly plunged from the plane as the landing gear lowered on approach to LHR. According to the airline, the second stowaway was hospitalized with unspecified serious injuries.
The Metropolitan Police issued the following statement:
Officers received a call to reports of a body discovered on top of a building … The death is described as unexplained. A post mortem will be held in due course, and investigations are ongoing as to whether the deceased was a possible stowaway.
The surviving stowaway was found after the aircraft landed at LHR. According to Scotland Yard representatives, the man is in serious condition.
The two stowaways are suspected to have climbed aboard the aircraft, believed by FlyerTalk to be British Airways Fight 56, at JNB and flew over 6,000 miles in the undercarriage of the Boeing 747.
It is unclear at the time of reporting what the deceased stowaway’s exact cause of death was, whether he succumbed to the exposure to subzero temperatures and lack of oxygen midair, or whether it was the fall from the aircraft that ultimately killed him. British Airways is cooperating with authorities in the ongoing investigation.
“We are working with the Metropolitan police and the authorities in Johannesburg to establish the facts surrounding this very rare case,” said an airline representative, reports BBC.
If the other man survives, he will be the second known stowaway to do so this year. In April 2015, a stowaway on a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-800 survived a one-hour flight riding in the wheel well.
[Photo: British Airways]