Summary: individuals scales airport fence, is chased by security, approaches BA 747 waiting for TO, security back off due to hazard of approaching aircraft preparing for TO, security apparently inform people. a/c takes off (not clear the order of last two steps), individual not found after a/c leaves, a/c continues to LHR, body found at LHR.
Why on earth continue the flight?
1. You're pretty much certain to kill this guy. OK, it's "his fault" but still ...
2. Security just spotted an unauthorized person approach a plane. They don't know what he did to it - is he onboard with a set of wirecutters taking it apart? Did he chuck a bomb in the UC bay? Is he onboard, with said bomb? We appear to be paranoid some of the time, but not this time, when it would seem to have been far more warranted.
Perhaps if they'd seen him with a bottle of water things would have been different?
Don't know if we're seeing different versions of the same story due to IP differences, but mine includes:
It is believed the dead man could be a person who was spotted scaling the fence at Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday night before heading towards a BA flight getting ready to take off.
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), which runs the airport, said it was carrying out an investigation.
An ACSA spokesman said: "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 take-off.
"For safety reasons the security officer could not approach the aircraft. A search of the airfield was immediately conducted but the person was not found.
"British Airways, in addition to various other parties, were notified. Further sweeps were conducted of the runway and the broader airfield.
"This morning, reports from London's Heathrow Airport confirmed that a stowaway was found on board a British Airways aircraft. The person was found dead.
As Pax, I landed 5 five minutes before this on SA 234 ex Jo'burg. That is of no direct relevance, other than it makes me particularly interested in the outcome of this incident.
Mad (Flt) has it exactly right. Why was the BA flight not delayed and checked? It must have been obvious that there was a potential security and safety issue. Is there no immediate reporting system for such an event? Or was the security guy just too intimidated by the prospect of delaying the flight?
Have either of you actually flown in Africa, where people taking a short cut across an active airfield is not unknown?
We had an ''official bird scarer'' in a hi-viz jacket run across the runway at Addis a few months back. We were somehwere near V1 when it occured and we did not see him due the curve in the runway until it was too late.
5 seconds earlier and we would have shattered him with the nose gear.
All I could read into the non-vetted words of the media was that some guy dissapeared on airport property after running close to a jumbo jet.
There was no confirmation of any evidence that he actually got in a wheel well (not an easily prcaticed trick with engines running).
Reasonable warnings to be on the lookout were given (to be confirmed).
Nobody reported any anomalys in the aircraft in-flight. Sounds simalar to a typical bird scare sighting being transmitted to crew who would obviously continue if they had no evidence of a damaging strike.
Stop making up what-ifs, we can't be forcing air-turn-backs based solely on ground suspicions. That's what the sensors and crew's brains on aircraft are for.
So ... let the investigation continue without judgement
This isn't the first time and it probably won't be the last. From memory, there was the incident some years ago where someone stowed away in India and made it to LHR alive, although not in a very good state. There was also a body found on top of a gasholder, which the police thought was some kind of gangland hit until an aeroplane flew overhead with the gear coming out...
At one end of the Cape Town runway and seperated from it, would you believe, by a chain link fence, is a very large unofficial squatter camp, wherein live hundreds if not thousands of people. Most are uneducated and all are desperate. Nightly they see the aircraft take off over their heads and they dream of being on it to a new life..Sadly for one unfortunate he didnt live to fulfil his dream. Sadly it wont stop the others trying though.