Police trying to identify a man whose frozen body fell into a garden in London from the landing gear of a plane have released a e-fit image of his face in the hope that he will be recognised.
Investigators, who also released images of a bag that was found in the landing gear of the aircraft with a small amount of Kenyan currency, believe he was a Kenyan man aged in his 30s, but are keeping an open mind.
DS Paul Graves said police had pursued a number of lines of inquiry into the June incident, which he said had been “a very sad incident to investigate”. “This man has a family somewhere who need to know what has happened to their loved one,” he added.
“Our investigation has included liaison with the authorities in Kenya, from where the flight took off, but so far our efforts to identify this man have proved fruitless. I hope by releasing this e-fit someone known to the deceased will recognise him and make contact.”
The strap of the bag had the distinctive lettering “MCA” written on it, while there was a logo stating: “Wildkat Softball” on the top that the man had been wearing. Bottles of water and a soft drink were also found in the landing gear.
Anyone who can assist with the investigation has been asked to call the Metropolitan police quoting the reference CAD 5395/30 June.
The flight on which the man is believed to have stowed away was a Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi to Heathrow. One early line of inquiry had focused on the possibility that he worked at Nairobi airport.
A resident of Offerton Road in Clapham said in June that he had hit the ground about a metre from a man who was sunbathing in his garden. “I heard a ‘whomp’. I went upstairs to look out of a window,” he said. “At first I though it was a [homeless person] asleep in the garden.
“He had all his clothes on and everything. I had a closer look and saw there was blood all over the walls of the garden … I realised immediately that he had fallen.”
The man’s body is being held at a mortuary. Police said that once the investigation is complete, a file will be produced for the coroner and an inquest can take place.
More than four years ago, the body of Carlito Vale from Mozambique was found on the roof of a west London office building below the Heathrow flight path. Another man was found unconscious in the undercarriage of the same British Airways plane, having survived freezing temperatures over the 8,000-mile (12,800km) flight from Johannesburg to London.
In 2012, another man, eventually identified as José Matada, fell from a flight from Angola close to Heathrow. A coroner said he had probably died of hypothermia before he fell.
Stowaways risk being crushed or burned by the wheels as soon as they are retracted after a flight’s takeoff. At cruising altitudes of more than 35,000ft, oxygen deprivation can kill people hidden in the unpressurised wheel well. As temperatures plunge to -55C (-67F), hypothermia is a serious risk.