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Stowaway plunges to his death from long-haul jet as it comes in to land

By Kate Ferguson and Sally Wardle

Published 20/06/2015

Cars drive past the offices of an online retailer in Richmond, a south west suburb of London, where the body of a man was found on the roof on Thursday. The building lies on the flight path to Heathrow Airport
Cars drive past the offices of an online retailer in Richmond, a south west suburb of London, where the body of a man was found on the roof on Thursday. The building lies on the flight path to Heathrow Airport
Cars drive past the offices of an online retailer in Richmond, a south west suburb of London, where the body of a man was found on the roof on Thursday. The building lies on the flight path to Heathrow Airport

A stowaway has plunged to his death from a plane and landed on a business in a busy high street - while another is in hospital.

The two men are believed to have clung on to a British Airways plane as it flew more than 8,000 miles (12,875km) from Johannesburg in South Africa to Heathrow.

The victim fell on to the roof of the business NotOnTheHighStreet.com in Kew Road, Richmond, south west London, yesterday morning.

Police and an ambulance were called just after 9.30am and found the man dead at the scene. It is understood the second man, aged between 25 and 30, was found unconscious at Heathrow around an hour earlier.

He was taken to a west London hospital where police said he remains in a serious condition. Police are investigating who the men are and exactly what happened.

Stowaways desperate to start a new life in Britain have fallen to their deaths from planes flying over the Richmond area before.

Reverend Neil Summers, from the St John the Divine of Richmond church opposite where the body was found, said he was "shocked" and would lead prayers for the dead man.

Although rare, there have been other cases when stowaways have plunged to their deaths in the leafy streets of west London after smuggling themselves on to planes.

They hide themselves in the landing gear, where they are exposed to the elements and have to endure plummeting temperatures. Most are killed by the cold and lack of oxygen at high altitudes. In September 2012, Jose Matada (26) died after falling from the undercarriage of a Heathrow-bound flight from Angola on to a street in Mortlake, west London, and in 2001 the body of Mohammed Ayaz (21) from Pakistan was found in a car park in Homebase in Richmond.

According to reports, a workman at nearby Heathrow Airport had seen him plummeting from the sky.

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