SA stowaway to Heathrow believed to be Mozambican immigrant

2016-01-13 10:26

Cape Town - The stowaway who fell to his death from a plane flying from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg to London's Heathrow in June 2015 is believed to have been a Mozambican immigrant. 

Six months after the stowaway's body was found on a roof below the Heathrow international airport's flight path, he can be identified as Carlito Vale.

Vale fell from the undercarriage of British Airways flight after travelling 8 000 miles from Johannesburg without being seen, reports the UK Guardian

Read News24's June report: Stowaway plunges to death, another survives flight from SA to UK


According to the report, he is believed to be connected to a Mozambican orphanage in the city of Beira.

Vale is estimated to have been born around 1985, and the unnamed orphanage later took him in as a young child. He was one of the thousands of children left homeless by the Mozambican civil war. 

READ: ALERT: Flooding expected in northern parts of SA

“He was a nice, very decent kid. He lived for the day. That was his world,” the orphanage founder told the publication.

According to the Guardian, Vale was in contact via email with João Mapengue, a boy who is from the Beira orphanage, who now lives in the Netherlands. 

Mapengue explains that Vale was one of the first boys to travel to the United States - a luxury that made all the other boys very jealous. He is described as a go-getter who was determined to transform his life. He last converstation with Vale was about how to get to Europe.  

The orphanage is said to have lost track of Vale after he turned 18 and went home to look after his mentally unstable mother. From then on he is believed to have spent time in South Africa and Uganda,  have his partner and together had a child. 

PICS: That time a jumbo jet landed in Joburg with a 5th engine strapped to its wing

It is near possible that Vale could have survived the below zero temperatures outside of the plane's cabin on the 11-hour journey with temperatures reaching as low as -50C. But Vale plummeted to his death when the plane's wheel wells opened and released him 427m into the air. 

The body of Vale remains in the UK while his fellow stowaway, who survived the deadly journey from Johannesburg to Heathrow, is in care while police look into his case. 

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