LONDON – Sussex Police have confirmed that the body of a deceased man was found in the undercarriage bay of an aircraft at London Gatwick Airport earlier this month.
The TUI Airways flight had arrived at Gatwick Airport from the West African nation of Gambia on December 7, and the body of the man who had apparently stowed away in the undercarriage bay was subsequently discovered after landing.
Flight TOM225 was operating between Banjul International Airport (BJL), Gambia and London Gatwick Airport (LGW) by a TUI Airways Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
A statement by Sussex Metropolitan Police read:
“Police were called after the body of a man was found in the undercarriage of an aircraft at Gatwick Airport, arriving from Gambia, at about 4am on December 7. Officers are investigating and a report will be prepared for HM Coroner”
Ebrima G. Sankareh, a spokesman for the Sussex Police was also quoted by Channel 7 News as saying:
“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.”
The disclosure of the death of the man who apparently stowed away on the TUI Airways flight has come at a time when the United Kingdom’s policies with respect to safe pathways for persons seeking refugee and asylum have been in the spotlight.
Earlier this month, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman stated that she would set up “safe and legal routes” only after the issue of dangerous Channel crossings by asylum seekers in small baots was dealt with.
On 14 December, the Guardian News carried the story of the tragic deaths of four people in the English Channel after their small craft capsized.
This follows the deaths of 27 people making the Channel crossing in November.