The stowaway who died after falling from an aeroplane and narrowly missing a sunbather in a London garden was a Kenyan airport cleaner, it emerged yesterday.
At the end of his shift, Paul Manyasi slipped inside the landing gear compartment of a UK-bound Boeing 787 at Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi.
The 29-year-old fell 3,500ft when the pilot of the Kenya Airways plane approached Heathrow and prepared to land by lowering the wheels.
Mr Manyasi, who dreamed of starting a better life in Britain, was already dead when he fell into the back garden of a £2.3milion home in Clapham, south London, on June 30.
At the end of his shift, Paul Manyasi slipped inside the landing gear compartment of a UK-bound Boeing 787 at Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi. He landed in the back garden of a home in London on June 30
Neighbours said he missed a man who was relaxing in the blazing sunshine by just a yard and cracked the paving. One witness said his body looked like a ‘block of ice’.
Mr Manyasi was paid £2.25 a day by a company called Colnet to clean the Kenyan airport.
His girlfriend, who also worked as a cleaner at the airport, said she last saw Mr Manyasi when he was assigned to clean an outside area of the passenger terminal, while she cleaned the inside.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Sky News: ‘I was with him in the morning. The last time I saw him, we were at work, he suddenly disappeared, nobody knows where he went.
‘I called his phone and it was off. When we came in the morning of the following day the supervisor called us and told us there is somebody missing.’
Mr Manyasi and his girlfriend had been together for two years and had been planning to start a family.
‘Paul was a nice guy,’ she said. ‘He was just a jovial person. I just liked him the way he was. I just feel like I lost someone who I loved so much – yes, I miss him.’
She believes her boyfriend made an impulsive decision to board the aircraft that day.
Neighbours said he missed a man who was relaxing in the blazing sunshine by just a yard and cracked the paving. One witness said his body looked like a ‘block of ice’ (pictured: the spot where Mr Manyasi landed)
Mr Manyasi shared a room in a run-down shack with a man called Patrick in a slum called Mukuru Kwa Njenga – an overcrowded neighbourhood of around 500,000 people.
He was the eldest of six children born to parents Issac and Janet, who live in a mud-walled house in Kakamega County in western Kenya.
Mrs Manyasi said: ‘I didn’t know where to start or where to end, I don’t know who to ask. Paul’s phone isn’t working.
‘I would really love him to be buried here, but the expenses…It’s just too expensive.’
His father added: ‘Let him stay [in the UK]. Those are too many expenses. Soil is just soil.’
When the plane landed at Heathrow Airport, a bag, water and food were discovered in the landing gear compartment.
Stowaway attempts on aeroplanes are incredibly risky, with only a small number surviving the perilous journey.
Those involved often die from extreme cold when the plane is at altitude or fall to their deaths when the landing gear compartment is opened. Others are crushed by the landing gear folding away into the plane after take-off.
The 29-year-old fell 3,500ft when the pilot of the Kenya Airways plane approached Heathrow and prepared to land by lowering the wheels
Aviation expert Guy Leitch said: ‘I just don’t understand how anyone can survive. It is beyond comprehension to think you could survive at -60C (-76F) for eight or nine hours, or even 10, at 33,000ft.
‘There is so little oxygen that your body starts pumping it back out into the air. You couldn’t hold your breath even for a minute.’
In 2015 a man plunged to his death from a British Airways flight from Johannesburg to Heathrow. Police were called to an office block in south-west London, after a man’s body was found on the roof, lying with his legs in the air and visible from the ground.
An hour earlier, ground staff at Heathrow had found a second man, 24, in the undercarriage of a Boeing 747 after it landed following the 8,000-mile journey from Johannesburg.
The man was still alive despite having been exposed to icy temperatures and reduced oxygen levels at high altitude.