SA stowaway found dead at Heathrow

Cape Town - The body of a stowaway has been found at Heathrow Airport in London, according to Airports Company South Africa (Acsa).

British Airways has confirmed a body was found in the landing gear bay of a Boeing 747 which arrived at Heathrow on a flight from Cape Town. The person is believed to be the same person who airport security tried to stop from scaling the Cape Town International Airport fencing on Wednesday.

According to Acsa, the incident took place at approximately 20:40, when an unidentified person was detected scaling the perimeter fence at Cape Town International Airport (CTIA).

The airport immediately responded and as a security patrol officer attempted to apprehend the man he ran in the direction of a British Airways aircraft already in its holding pattern ready for takeoff. The security officer could not approach the aircraft for safety reasons.

A search of the airfield was immediately conducted but the person was not found. Acsa then contacted British Airways, in addition to various other parties. The aircraft proceeded to London. Further sweeps were conducted of the runway and the broader airfield.

British Airways spokesperson Stephen Forbes said, "This is a very rare and sad event and our thoughts are with the individual's family. We are liaising with the South African authorities and Cape Town airport as they investigate how this incident took place."

Acsa said in a media release that it is concerned about the loss of life and thus views this incident in the utmost serious light.

A full investigation will be undertaken.

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