Strap in, folks. This one’s a real wild ride: The body of a man, believed to be a stowaway, has reportedly fallen from a plane’s landing gear near London’s Heathrow Airport, and nearly struck a stunned sunbather in his own backyard.
The body seems to have fallen as much as 3,500 feet (1,066.8 metres) from a Kenya Airways flight that was on its final approach to London after departing Nairobi several hours earlier.
Police were called to a residence in Clapham, South London, around 10 minutes before the flight landed in response to reports that a body had quite literally fallen from the sky.
Residents and neighbours assert that the body impacted the backyard just one metre away from where a man was sunbathing, in what ranks as one of history’s most almighty near-misses. The impact of the body hitting the ground was so severe that it smashed a concrete tile path and left a sizeable crater in the grass surface. Police were initially unable to determine whether or not the body was male or female.
Another resident of the house, who was inside at the time of the impact, described the horrific scene thusly:
[The sunbather] didn’t even realise what it was to begin with. He was asleep and then there was a huge impact. The body literally landed one metre away from him and was obliterated. My friend was very shaken.
There were a few of us in the house at the time and it was lucky only one of us was in the garden. Nobody would have survived being hit. The impact was horrific.
Upon inspecting the aircraft, officials found a bag, food, and water in the undercarriage of the plane. It’s not known whether the stowaway survived the flight, but doing so would’ve meant enduring nine hours at -60 degrees with limited oxygen. So… unlikely, you’d have to say.
Stowaway incidents in the area are rare, but not unheard of. In 2015 the body of a man was discovered on a roof in south-west London after being dropped from a plane approaching Heathrow en route from South Africa. Prior to that, a man from Mozambique was found dead after falling from a flight from Angola; his body landed in the middle of a street in the London suburb of Richmond.
Officials have been unable to identify the man involved in this most recent incident.