Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Falling man’ changes London neighborhood

By
From page A9 | December 11, 2012 | 1 Comment

Britain Falling Man

This E-FIT image (Electronic Facial Identification Technique) provided by the Metropolitan Police on Dec. 7, 2012 show a computer-based face of a man whom British police are trying to identify after his body was found near London's Heathrow Airport in September. Police believe he was from Africa, probably from Angola, but they don't know his identity, or how to notify his next of kin. The apparent stowaway had no identification papers - just some currency from Angola, leading police to surmise that he was from that African nation, especially as inquiries showed that a plane from Angola was beginning its descent into Heathrow at about that time. (AP Photo/Metropolitan Police)

LONDON — The suburban stillness of the comfortable, two-story homes in west London’s Mortlake neighborhood is broken only by the roar of jets thundering overhead on the final approach to Heathrow Airport. It’s a pleasant place, with easy connections into central London, generally free of crime and congestion.

That changed early on a sunny Sunday morning in September when a man from Africa literally fell from the sky and landed with a loud thud onto the sidewalk of Portman Avenue, half a block from a convenience store, an upscale lingerie boutique, and a shop selling Chinese herbal remedies.

In the hours after the crumpled body was found, as early risers were getting up to walk their dogs, get the papers, or go to church, police thought the man was a murder victim. But it was soon determined that he had been a stowaway who fell from a passenger plane when it lowered its landing gear directly above Portman Avenue.

“It was scary, there was a body on the street, and nobody knew at first that he had fallen from a plane,” neighbor Stephanie Prudhomme said. “There were police everywhere.”

The identity of the man remains a mystery three months later. He carried no identification, but police believe he may have been from Angola. They are asking the public to help identify the man, whose death has traumatized the neighborhood.

Some heard the noise on impact; others were alarmed when they opened their doors and saw a crumpled badly disfigured body lying on the street. Some didn’t know anything was amiss until the police and an ambulance arrived, followed by homicide detectives.

Police came to believe the man stowed away on a passenger jet bound from the African nation of Angola to London, only to die en route and then fall when the landing gear opened — an occurrence that is rare but not unheard of.

“There is great sadness,” said Catherine Lambert, who lives a few doors down from the spot where the manlanded. “To think that the end of the line for him is a suburban street, miles away from his world.”

The event shattered the neighborhood’s sense of being immune from the world’s troubles, she said, a feeling compounded by the inability of police to identify the man.

“I felt, what was he running away from? What made him think he could survive? And how will his family ever know? He’s a lost soul now; his father and mother are probably waiting for him to make contact,” said Lambert, 41.

Frustrated police have released a composite electronic image of what they believe the man’s face looked like before his fall, as well as a photo of a tattoo on his left arm, in hopes that he may be identified.

Based on circumstantial evidence, including some currency found in his jeans pocket, they believe he may have been from Angola, but discussions with Angolan authorities have not provided useful clues.

In the days after the macabre discovery, some residents moved by the man’s death placed flowers at the spot where his body landed.

Unofficial representatives of London’s Angolan community trekked to Mortlake to pay their respects to theman, even though no one knew who he was.

They prayed and also left flowers — but the bouquet was quickly removed by residents after the delegation departed, for fears that it would become an unwanted, permanent shrine to the unknown passenger.

Some are still unwilling to discuss the falling man.

“Is this about the man from the sky?” asked one woman when approached by a reporter as she parked her car on Portman Avenue. “I don’t want to talk about it. That was my house.”

Aviation safety specialist Chris Yates said Sunday that poor perimeter security at a number of airports in Africa — including the main Angola airport at Luanda — and in other parts of the world has made it easier for people to stow away on planes.

But it’s dangerous, and often fatal, not least because areas such as the cargo hold or the wheel base, where stowaways often climb into, aren’t necessarily pressurized. Yates said the man who crashed to the pavement in Mortlake had probably lost consciousness and died within the first hour of his flight.

“When you start moving beyond 10,000 feet, oxygen starvation becomes a reality,” he said. “As you climb up to altitude, the issue becomes cold as well, the temperature drops to minus 40 or minus 50 degrees centigrade, so survival rates drop.”

The sidewalk has been cleaned and the flowers are long gone, but residents and local workers are still talking about the man, said Jay Sivapalan, 29, an employee at the Variety Box convenience store near where the body landed.

“It was just a strange thing,” he said.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensDecember 11, 2012 - 8:46 pm

    This isnt the first time this sort of thing has happened. A Cuban guy once survived an unpressurized and unheated hypoxic flight in the nose landing gear wheel well of an Iberian flight from Havana to Madrid. He actually survived and fell.out of the nose gear well when the flight pulled into parking and stopped..I saw something like this happen once on Okinawa. I landed and parked next to a roped off C141. I asked and was told 2 Mongolian teens stowed away in the nose well and didnt survive and died from the hypothermic and hypoxic shock during the flight from Ulan Bator to Kadena Okinawa. Stowaway / anti-hijack check before flight anyone?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Delta barriers no longer needed

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
 
Supervisors voice concern on state Delta plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Slain Fairfield man loved family, laughter

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Dental clinic coming Friday, Saturday

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 4 Comments

 
Vacaville man to stand trial for baseball bat attack

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Rotarians talk about running clinic to help Haitians

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District eyes new auditor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
County honors Purple Heart recipients

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Solano recognizes 1,300-strong volunteer corps

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Highway 12 night work scheduled in Delta

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Kids fishing derby in Fairfield is part of Earth Day

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
Garamendi to host open house at Fairfield office

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A7

 
County approves Icon agreements

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9

 
Ceremony set to break ground for Suisun City Walmart

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B9, 19 Comments | Gallery

Dutch Bros. opening with free drinks

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B9, 7 Comments

 
Mustangs and More event moved back to October

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A10

Museum readies to host Sallie Fox Day in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Golf tournament to raise funds for children

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Rotary club to host clay shooting derby

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A11

 
Ghost Walk returns to Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A11

Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A11

 
NAMI talk on reducing mental health stigma

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

 
.

US / World

Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
In Internet TV case, justices show concern

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

GOP candidate releases education policy overview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Analysis: Putin likely to ignore West on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Biden: Russia must ‘stop talking and start acting’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Most Sherpas decide to leave Everest for season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Grieving borrowers told to repay student loan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Jet stowaway at hospital; security issues linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

SKorea ferry toll hits 146 as search gets tougher

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Ukraine orders new ‘anti-terror’ operation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

In Ukraine’s east, mayor held hostage by insurgent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Acts of bravery emerge from pilloried ship crew

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in S. Sudan slaughter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
FedEx sued over deadly California bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Obama views mudslide scene, mourns with survivors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
IRS awards bonuses to 1,100 who owe back taxes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

Mystery of Ukraine’s anti-Semitic pamphlet

By Frida Ghitis | From Page: A13

 
Editorial cartoons for April 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 

Groundwater becomes next big California fight

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A13

 
Fairfield’s main problem is the mayor

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

.

Living

Solving and resolving life’s problems

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
 
A healthy take on the very not healthy Scotch egg

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

How can I get my 12-year-old grandson to sleep in his own bed?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

DeGeneres making design series for HGTV

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Discovery to chronicle Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in Philly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

5 Fairfield runners finish Boston Marathon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Sharks beat Kings 4-3 in OT, take 3-0 series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Prep swimming update: Postseason looms on horizon

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
SCC softball ends regular season with 29 straight wins

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Seahawks acquire QB Terrelle Pryor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL playoff game to air on ESPN for 1st time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB suspends 4 after Brewers-Pirates brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Djokovic: Wrist better, will try to play in Madrid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Armstrong coach Bruyneel banned for 10 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pujols’ 500th HR helps Angels beat Nationals 7-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rangers rally for two runs in ninth to beat A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Beverly Hanson, forgotten pioneer in women’s golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tech boom presents new wrinkles for Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors announce new plans for SF arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Kentucky freshman Julius Randle to enter NBA draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP Source: N.Y. Giants’ Hill facing 3rd suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Warriors’ Curry eager to erase Game 2 nightmare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Spurs’ Popovich wins NBA Coach of the Year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Raiders begin offseason workouts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
David Moyes out as Manchester United manager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA Playoffs: Raptors even series with Nets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Novartis reshapes business with GSK, Lilly deals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

AT&T had strong 1Q on wireless installment plans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Valeant, Ackman make $45.6B Allergan bid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

.

Obituaries

Robert James Carty Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Richard P. Horn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Dondi Martin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Kyong Hee Maxwell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Norma O’Regan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard Of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7