In a bizarre incident this past Sunday, the frozen body of a plane stowaway fell 3,500 feet from Kenya Airways 787 on final approach into London’s Heathrow Airport. The body is assumed to have fallen from the aircraft when the plane opened its landing gear doors. Authorities found a bag, food and water all stashed in the landing gear upon later inspection at the airport. The identity of the man is still unknown.

Shaking and Trembling

Even more bizzarely, the body crashed into the garden of south London resident John Baldock. He was happily sunbathing in the garden when the body impacted the ground just a few feet from him. He neighbors heard the massive crash and came running to see what had happened. A plane spotter had also seen the body fall and phoned the police.

The incident left John so shaken that he was trembling and could hardly speak. The young software engineer left London for his home in Devon as he deals with the traumatic event. He could have easily been killed had he been located only a few feet to the side from where he’d been sitting.

Not The First Stowaway Incident

After the incident, Heathrow representatives stated that this happens roughly “once every five years”. The last incident was about 3.5 years ago when a Mozambiquan male made the journey to London aboard a British Airways flight from Johannesburg. Authorities discovered his body on a roof, assumed to have also fallen from the aircraft on approach.

No matter what, stowing away in the undercarriage of a plane is almost certain to be fatal. There is no air pressurization nor protection from the elements. Unless the flight is very short, anyone stowing away in the wheel well will die from exposure. There have been a number of similar incidents over the past several years, with a large percentage of the affected flights flying to or from Africa.

Featured image courtesy of Mark Harkin via Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY-2.0 license