South African Airways (SAA) has launched an internal investigation after a man was found dead in the wheel well of its aircraft when it landed in Washington, after flying from Dakar, Senegal.
SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said the airline would co-operate fully with the US authorities and law enforcement agencies to ensure a thorough and expeditious investigation into the incident.
The body of an unidentified man was found in the wheel well after the plane landed at Dulles International Airport in the US capital.
Tlali said the body was found in the centre gear wheel well section of flight SA 207 which left Johannesburg on Wednesday for Washington via the Senegalese capital.
“Once at the Dulles International Airport, it was discovered that there was a fault with the landing gear of the aircraft. It led to SAA dispatching its engineers and technicians to the US to identify the cause and to fix the fault on the aircraft.
”During the process of conducting tests on the aircraft, SAA engineers discovered a human body in the centre wheel well,” the spokesman said.
Two years ago, there were two similar tragedies in the UK with flights that originated in South Africa.
In July, 2012, a North African stowaway fell from a plane into a street in London and, a month later, a man who scaled the perimeter fence at Cape Town International Airport was found dead inside the landing gear of a British Airways plane when it landed in London the next morning.