'Stowaway' falls out of plane on to quiet Mortlake street


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The Independent Online

Police are investigating the possibility that a man found dead on a west London street under the flightpath of planes approaching Heathrow airport was a stowaway who fell from an aircraft.

Officers were called after residents of Portman Avenue, Mortlake, reported finding a body on Sunday morning. A man, believed to be in his 30s and from North Africa, was found dead.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said officers were investigating and "one line of inquiry" was that he was a stowaway.

She added: "The death is currently being treated as unexplained. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the male's identity."

Joe Dodd, who lives in the area, told the London Evening Standard: "When I got up at eight, the body was still on the pavement. They had not moved it. We were not allowed out of our house for ages. There was police and ambulances everywhere. There was loads of blood everywhere, all over the street and on a car."

The news comes a little more than two weeks after a stowaway was found dead in the landing-gear bay of a British Airways plane. It is believed the man climbed into the aircraft in Cape Town and died in temperatures as low as -60C during the flight.

Richard Taylor, of the Civil Aviation Authority, said that people do sometimes fall from planes and that stowaways face very little chance of survival.