News Home » World » Police release e-fit of man found dead in wheel bay of Gatwick-bound plane

Around the World

Police release e-fit of man found dead in wheel bay of Gatwick-bound plane

Wille Okon 5 Jun 2

Police have released a digitised image of a man who was found dead in the undercarriage of a plane, as they work to identify him.

The man’s body was found on a Tui flight from the Gambia to the UK. His body was discovered at Gatwick airport at about 4am on 7 December, Sussex police said at the time.

He was found without any identity documents. He is believed to have been in his 20s or 30s and information has been shared with authorities in the west African country.

Departing from Banjul international airport, the plane had completed a 3,600-mile trip to the London airport. The average flight between the two destinations is usually about six hours.

DI Darren Lillywhite of Sussex police said: “This was a tragic case, and we are working to establish the identity of the man found deceased. Somewhere, this man will have relatives or loved ones who do not know what has happened to him.”

Detectives are hoping to identify the man for an inquest, which may provide answers for his loved ones.

Lillywhite said: “In particular, we are seeking contact from anyone in the UK that may have been expecting to meet a friend or family member who failed to arrive in December, as well as anyone in the Gambia or neighbouring countries who may have knowledge about an individual who made travel plans to come to the UK or Europe.”

At the time of the discovery, Ebrima G Sankareh, the Gambia’s government spokesperson, said: “According to the information, the deceased black male was found within the wheel bay of the aircraft without identification documents to establish his name, age, nationality or travel itinerary. It is, therefore, not clear at this stage who he is.”

Previously there have been instances of stowaways being found dead after boarding a UK-bound flight. In 2019, the body of a man who fell from a Kenya Airways flight landed in a south London garden as the plane came in to Heathrow airport.

In 2012, José Matada fell to his death from a British Airways flight inbound from Angola. Matada, originally from Mozambique, was found on the pavement in East Sheen, south-west London, on 9 September.