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Stowaway dies falling from Jhb flight to London

Officials believe two men mounted the undercarriage of a British Airways Boeing 747 as it took off from Jhb.

FILE: A British Airways aircraft prepares to land at Heathrow Airport in west London. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - British police are investigating how two alleged stowaways reportedly flew to London after clinging to a passenger aircraft en route from Johannesburg.

One of the men reportedly died on Thursday after falling as the plane approached Heathrow Airport.

The second man is currently being treated in a London hospital where his condition is described by medics as serious.

Officials believe the two alleged stowaways managed to mount the undercarriage of a British Airways Boeing 747 as it took off from Johannesburg, then survived its 11-hour flight to London by hiding in the plane's wheel recess.

Having withstood temperatures as low as 50 degrees below freezing, it's believed one of the men then tumbled from the aircraft as its landing gear was lowered on its approach to Heathrow.

His body was found on the roof of a shop in Richmond, south-west London, and police have described his death as unexplained.

The second man, believed to be between 25 and 30 years old, was discovered later, still on board the plane and was rushed to hospital. Efforts are continuing to confirm his identity.

OTHER STOWAWAY STORIES

In February 2014, a man's body was discovered in the wheel well of an SAA jetliner parked at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington.

The plane arrived from Johannesburg after a stop in Dakar, Senegal, and was parked in a remote parking area at the airport.

The wheel well, the portion of the plane where the body was discovered, is a recessed compartment that wheels are retracted into during flight.

In August 2012 the body of an unidentified man was found in the landing gear of a British Airways flight at Heathrow Airport.

The aircraft had departed from the Cape Town International Airport, where Gauteng police say he jumped security gates.

In a separate incident the week before, the body of a suspected stowaway plummeted to the ground from an incoming flight to London. His body was discovered on a residential street in Mortlake, west of London.

Police believe the man was Angolan, after Kwanza notes were found in his possession.