Zimbabwean soldiers walk around a US-registered cargo plane at Harare International Airport. Zimbabwean aviation authorities impounded the plane after the body of a stowaway was found on board. The plane had been carrying billions of rand. Picture: AP
Zimbabwean soldiers walk around a US-registered cargo plane at Harare International Airport. Zimbabwean aviation authorities impounded the plane after the body of a stowaway was found on board. The plane had been carrying billions of rand. Picture: AP

Mystery stowaway was ‘dead for days’

By Independent Foreign Service Time of article published Feb 22, 2016

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Harare - Zimbabwean officials say they believe the mystery stowaway found on the US freighter plane which sought an emergency landing in Harare had been dead for four days.

According to the officials, the body was decomposed when it fell out of the plane at Harare International Airport last week.

The plane was impounded after it landed for refuelling and Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe staff noticed blood on the aircraft.

It had R60 billion in notes on board which were printed in Germany. The freight weighed 57 tons.

The MD-11 trijet cargo plane was packed with R100, R50, R20 and R10 denominations printed in Munich, Germany, for the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba told Harare’s Sunday Mail that the plane was released early on Saturday.

“There were no external or internal injuries to the body, which means that there was no likelihood of foul play or murder.

“The fact that he had no internal or external injuries also shows that he got on the plane alive but later died of asphyxia,” she said.

She said the Zimbabwean police had sent a notice to Interpol to trace the stowaway’s nationality.

The stowaway had unkempt hair, a dirty T-shirt, trousers held up by a piece of cloth improvised as a belt, and worn out slippers.

The aircraft crew requested landing in Zimbabwe after they had failed to secure landing instructions at King Shaka Airport in Durban from their company.

The cargo plane's itinerary indicates that its original departure place was Liege, Belgium, on February 11, and it made a stopover in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on the same day. On February 12, it stopped in Abuja, Nigeria, and Entebbe, Uganda. On February 13, it stopped in Liege, Belgium, and later Munich, Germany, where they picked up their consignment.

The plane crew - two Americans, a Pakistani and a South African - spent the past week at a five-star hotel in the city centre while SARB officials were “sleeping on the plane” as Zimbabwean security agents stood guard outside.

The Star

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