DNA samples confirm identity of Heathrow stowaway

Carlito Vale fell to his death in the UK after hiding aboard a London-bound flight from Johannesburg.

Carlito Vale, who fell to his death after hiding aboard a London-bound flight from Johannesburg. Picture: Facebook

LONDON - An inquest has heard how DNA samples were needed to confirm the identity of a stowaway who fell to his death in the United Kingdom after hiding aboard a London-bound flight from Johannesburg.

The Mozambican-born man survived the 11-hour flight but died after falling on to a shop roof as the plane made its final approach into Heathrow Airport.

Carlito Vale, who grew up in an orphanage in Mozambique, suffered multiple injuries after tumbling more than 400 metres from a Boeing 747 just minutes before it landed in the UK last June.

His headless body was discovered protruding from a rooftop air conditioning unit.

An inquest into his death, held in London, heard that a Mozambican passport found at Johannesburg Airport helped identify Vale.

Authorities then tracked down his daughter and confirmed his identity after comparing her DNA with samples from the body.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.


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.