Inside garden where Kenyan Airlines stowaway fell 3,500ft on way into Heathrow
This is the garden where a stowaway crash-landed just 3ft from a sunbather after plunging 3,500ft from a plane flying overhead.
The horrific impact left a crater in the lawn and smashed a concrete path while a tenant was asleep on bright and warm Sunday afternoon.
Startled neighbours heard a loud bang – described by one as a "whomp" – as the suspected migrant's body landed in the small garden in Clapham, south London.
The stowaway, who was wearing a blue T-shirt and denim jeans, landed face down.
It is believed the man was already dead, and one neighbour has told how the body was frozen when it narrowly missed hitting the sunbather.
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The stowaway was hidden within a Kenya Airways plane that was flying over the capital on its final approach to Heathrow Airport.
His body plunged from a landing gear compartment as the plane lowered its wheels just before 3.40pm.
A plane spotter, who was following the nine-hour flight on an app from Clapham Common, had seen the body fall and arrived at the scene at around the same time as police.
Neighbours said the sunbather was lucky not to be killed.
The tragic incident could have been much worse as the body could have fallen on packed Clapham Common, just 300 yards away, if it had fallen just two seconds later, one local said.
Witnesses said the sunbathing tenant was in shock after the stowaway nearly landed on top of him.
One of the sunbather's friends told the Sun: "He was so lucky not to be hit and killed. The impact obliterated the body.”
The sunbather, who is in his 20s, was dozing in the garden of the terraced house at the time, his friend said.
The friend, who was in the house at the time, added: "He didn’t even realise what it was to begin with. He was asleep and then there was a huge impact.
“The body literally landed one metre away from him and was obliterated. My friend was very shaken."
He said the tenant has left London and is staying with his family.
Neighbours described hearing a sickening thud.
A female neighbour said: “It was horrific. We heard a loud bang. I thought it was from the building work we are having done.
“My husband went to look and saw the body lying in the middle of the lawn.
“The man had fallen right next to one of the lodgers who was in the garden at the time.
“I’m just thankful it didn’t hit him. He was in shock.”
A next-door neighbour said: "I heard a 'whomp' – I went upstairs to look out of a window. At first I though it was a tramp asleep in the garden.
"He had all of his clothes on and everything. I had a closer look and saw there was blood all over the walls of the garden.
"His head was not in a good way. I realised immediately that he had fallen.
"So I went outside and it was just then the neighbour came out and he was very shaken.
"He had been sunbathing and he landed one metre away from him."
According to flight-tracking data, the passenger jet was flying at an altitude of just over 3,500ft and a speed of nearly 200mph as it passed over Clapham.
A male neighbour said: "I spoke to Heathrow Airport to ask if they were aware of this. If it had been two seconds later, he would have landed on the common where there were hundreds of people – my kids were in the garden 15 minutes before [he fell]."
The common was packed with sunbathers enjoying the weather on Sunday afternoon.
The man added: "I spoke to Heathrow. They said this happens once every five years."
Describing the victim, he said the body was frozen, adding: "One of the reasons his body was so intact was because his body was an ice block."
The man said a plane spotter in Clapham Common saw the body fall from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner while following the flight on a tracking app.
The plane spotter arrived at about the same time as police and told them the body had fallen from the Kenya Airways flight.
The neighbour said: "The police had four cars. They were here for about five hours to start the clean-up operation."
He said the body was removed at about 8.30pm and that the clean-up team had returned on Monday morning to continue the job.
He added the neighbour that had been sunbathing had returned briefly Sunday evening before leaving again.
A woman who lives nearby said she had heard a thump, but thought it was falling scaffolding from nearby building works.
Referring to her neighbours, she said: "My heart goes out to them, they're going to have to live with that for the rest of their lives."
The plane, which took off from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, landed at Heathrow at 3.50pm, just over ten minutes after police were called.
It is thought the stowaway was already dead when he fell from flight KQ100 near the end of the 4,250-mile trip.
He would have had to survive almost nine hours starved of oxygen and temperatures of around -60C at an altitude of 40,000ft.
Kenya Airways called the death "unfortunate" and said it was cooperating with British and Kenyan authorities.
On inspecting the aircraft police found a bag containing food and clothing at the rear left landing gear.
The body – which is yet to be identified – came crashing to earth close to Clapham Manor Primary School.
A spokesperson for the airline, which is Kenya's flag carrier, said: "The incident has been treated as a sudden death and is now a police matter.
"The police have already been in contact with the Kenya High Commission to help identify and name the person.
"It is unfortunate that a person has lost his life by stowing aboard one of our aircraft and we express our condolences.
"Kenya Airways is working closely with the relevant authorities in Nairobi and London as they fully investigate this case."
A statement from Scotland Yard said: "A post-mortem examination will be carried out in due course.
"Police are working to establish the man's identity.
"A crime scene was put in place but has since been closed.
"The death is not being treated as suspicious.
"Enquiries are underway to establish the full circumstances.
"At this point, police believe the man was a stowaway and had fallen from the landing gear of an inbound Kenya Airways flight to Heathrow Airport."
The plane was cleared to take off on Monday after being inspected at Heathrow.
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