British Police quiz African officials over a desperate stowaway man who fell thousands of feet onto residential street just 10 miles from Heathrow airport.
Detectives were today liaising with their counterparts in North Africa to solve the mystery of a stowaway UK bound immigrant who plunged to his death from the undercarriage of a holiday jet.
The unfortunate man, thought to be in his 30s, fell thousands of feet from the plane as it prepared to land at Heathrow at 7.55am on Sunday.
His body was discovered in a suburban road in Mortlake on the south bank of the Thames, less than 10 miles and minutes from the airport.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “They will be liaising with them, especially if the guy is actually from North Africa.
“They will be able to assist in trying to identify him, difficult though that may be to do.”
Aviation experts believe the man was most likely dead before he hit the ground – either crushed by retracting landing gear or from the extreme cold.
Richard Taylor, of the Civil Aviation Authority, said: “The chances of survival for a stowaway are very slim, particularly in the recess of the landing gear.
“I don’t know of anyone who has survived being stowed away on a long-haul flight.
“When the landing gear comes down at the other end, a few miles from the runway and about 2,000ft in the air, if there is a person who had died they would fall out.”
Residents of Portman Avenue spoke of their shock on finding the man, who suffered multiple injuries, outside their homes just before 8am.
They said his body parts were strewn over a 30-yard area amid pools of blood.
Security guard Billy Watson, 26, who lives opposite where the man fell, described the body as “all twisted up”.
He said: “It is unbelievable. The first thing I thought when I saw the body was that it must have fallen from quite a height.”
Mother-of-two Catherine Lambert added: “We just wonder what made him get in that plane and want so badly to escape.”
Annie Williams, 47, added: “I heard a monstrous bang. I thought someone had been hit by a car. There were two fellows going to church and they said there’s a dead body in the street.”
The discovery comes just over a fortnight after the body of a stowaway was found in the landing gear recess of a British Airways plane arriving at Heathrow from Cape Town.
In 2001, a man fell from a British Airways Boeing 777 during its descent and landed in a Homebase car park in Richmond.
The death is being treated as unexplained. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course.
The incidents demonstrate how desperate immigrants are to just get onto UK soil.
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