South Africa’s official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) Monday urged the Department of Transport to address the major security breach at Cape Town International Airport that led to the death of a stowaway last week.
The incident was triggered when a British Airways 747 plane was cleared for take-off, minutes after a stowaway had been spotted breaching the perimetre fencing at the airport.
Security cameras revealed that the man was seen running towards the aircraft, which was at the end of the runway in its holding pattern preparing for takeoff.
Guards gave chase but the man could not be found and his frozen body was only discovered in the landing gear of the plane when it touched down in London.
DA MP Greg Krumbock asked the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, Ruth Bhengu, to invite Airports Company of South Africa Chief Executive Officer Bongani Maseko to the portfolio committee to provide details on how this incident was managed.
“For safety purposes it seems that the security officer could not pursue the man any further, due to the proximity to the planes and subsequently lost sight of him. The fact of the matter is that none of these planes should have been allowed to take off. The consequences of a security breach could be catastrophic if an armed person was allowed to gain access to a plane undeterred,” he said.
An aircraft on a long-haul flight experiences temperatures as low as 60C below freezing, making survival impossible.
The body of the unidentified man is expected to be flown back to South Africa on Tuesday.