A body has been found inside a jumbo jet landing at Heathrow Airport. The body was discovered in the landing gear bay of a British Airways Boeing 747 after it arrived at the London airport from Cape Town, South Africa.
BA said it was liaising with South African authorities over the discovery, which was made at about 06:25 BST on Thursday, reports the BBC.
A spokesman said: “This is a very rare and sad event and our thoughts are with the individual’s family.” He continued: “We are liaising with the South African authorities and Cape Town airport after a body was found in the landing gear bay of one of our aircraft.
“They are investigating how this incident took place, which involved a Boeing 747 which arrived this morning from Cape Town.” The death is being treated as non-suspicious. Inquiries are being made to establish the man’s identity.
The Metropolitan Police said the body was that of a man who was not a member of the jumbo jet’s crew or a passenger on the flight. It is believed the dead man could be a person who was spotted scaling the fence at Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday night before heading towards a BA flight getting ready to take off.
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), which runs the airport, said it was carrying out an investigation. An ACSA spokesman said: “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.
“For safety reasons the security officer could not approach the aircraft. A search of the airfield was immediately conducted but the person was not found. British Airways, in addition to various other parties, were notified. Further sweeps were conducted of the runway and the broader airfield.
“This morning, reports from London’s Heathrow Airport confirmed that a stowaway was found on board a British Airways aircraft. The person was found dead. Airports Company South Africa is concerned about the loss of life and thus views this incident in the utmost serious light. A full investigation will be undertaken.”