UPDATE: 'I heard a monstrous bang', says woman after body found in street (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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UPDATE: 'I heard a monstrous bang', says woman after body found in East Sheen
Neighbours have described the horrific moment when a man's body, believed to be a stowaway from a landing aircraft, was found in an East Sheen street.
Annie Williams who lives in the house where the body was found said she heard a loud noise when she was opening her curtains.
She said: “I heard a monstrous bang. I thought someone had been hit by a car. There were two fellows going to church and they said there’s a dead body in the street . Not your usual Sunday in Sheen.”
The 47-year-old said there were remains on her car and doorstep, which were later cleaned by a council worker.
She said: “We were asked to stay inside because there was splatter on the doorstep. I’m now going to get my car cleaned because they cleaned it, but not very well.”
Neighbours said the body was lying in between two cars outside numbers 18 and 20 in Portman Avenue.
Dawn Taylor, 83, said she heard a noise and thought it was something inside her house, until her husband went outside and saw the police.
She said: “We thought it was a bump in the house and thought we would discover something had fallen off a shelf, it wasn’t loud enough to worry us.
“The place was swarming with cops. They wanted us to stay in our houses and we were advised it was a bit unpleasant, so don’t look.”
Her husband, John Taylor said he spoke to neighbours about the incident.
He said: “They said there was human flesh on the ground and there were flies buzzing around it.”
The death is currently being treated as unexplained and a post-mortem examination was due to take place this week.
Richard Taylor from the Civil Aviation Authority said this kind of incident was not unheard of and added there was very little chance of survival for stowaways.
He said: “The temperatures in the undercarriage reaches -40C at high altitudes, so the person has basically frozen to death. There is virtually no chance of someone surviving that.”
In 2001, a man fell from a British Airways Boeing 777 which was heading towards Heathrow and landed in a Homebase car park in Richmond.
On August 24 this year a stowaway was found dead inside a British Airways jumbo jet at Heathrow after a man climbed into the plane at Cape Town.
Mr Taylor said stowaways were sometimes crushed by the mechanisms in the plane.
He said: “It is a very dangerous environment. Very often people get crushed to death by the landing gear when it retracts. It is surprising that people still do it. I guess they don’t realise they have very little chance of surviving.”
The flight path over Portman Avenue where the body was found, around 10 miles from Heathrow, is where the planes prepare to land.