South African stowaway falls to his death in Richmond after clinging to British Airways flight

A stowaway plunged to his death from a British Airways jet as it flew over Richmond yesterday. 

The man, thought to be between 25 and 30, is believed to have fallen from the undercarriage of British Airway-owned Boeing 747 onto the offices of, on Red Lion Street in Richmond.

It is thought that the man had travelled almost 8,000 miles from South Africa, falling from the plane’s wheel as it reached Heathrow.

Police were called to the scene at about 9.30am yesterday and found a body lying on the building’s roof.

A second stowaway is said to have survived the 11-hour flight and has now been taken for treatment at a west London hospital.

Despite the bizarre and tragic nature of the incident, it is not the first of its kind to befall the south west London borough.

In 2001 a 21-year-old Pakistani Mohammed Ayaz was found in the car park of Homebase in Richmond.

Four years prior to that another stowaway fell on to a gasworks close by in Petersham Road.

Research undertaken in 2012 by Dr Stephen Veronneau of the US Federal Aviation Administration found 96 incidents of individuals attempting to travel on plane wheels since 1947 – of those, 76% proved fatal.

Image courtesy of Google, with thanks

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