UK (Next Media) – A man remains in critical condition in a hospital after surviving a 10-hour flight in the undercarriage of a British Airways flight from which another stowaway appears to have plunged to his death.
The two men flew in the undercarriage of the plane as it flew over 8,000 miles (12,875km) from Johannesburg to London.
The survivor was discovered unconscious in the undercarriage of the aircraft on Thursday morning.
The body of the dead man was found an hour later on a roof of a west London office building. Police and ambulance crews discovered his body around 9:30 a.m. on the roof of NotOnTheHighStreet.com in Richmond.
It’s unclear if the man was killed in the fall. According to flight data, the aircraft would have been at an altitude of about 1,400 ft (427m) when it flew over the area.
Police have not yet released the identity of the 24-year-old survivor. Scotland Yard said they were looking into whether there was a connection between the survivor and the dead man found on the roof of the office building.
“At this time, there is no evidence to link the death to the discovery of the stowaway in the undercarriage of a plane at Heathrow airport; however, this is a line of enquiry into identifying the deceased and the circumstances of his death,” the Metropolitan police said.
Stowaways hide in the landing gear where they are exposed to the elements and sub-zero temperatures. Other risks include hypothermia, frostbite, hearing loss, tinnitus, hypoxia and acidosis.
Compartment doors re-open a few thousand feet above ground, which can cause stowaways to fall out.
A British Airways spokeswoman said, “We are working with the Metropolitan police and the authorities in Johannesburg to establish the facts surrounding this very rare case.” An autopsy is scheduled for the dead man next week.
SOURCES: The Guardian, Irish Examiner, BBC