Police open inquest docket into body found at OR Tambo airport

01 December 2016 - 16:56 By Neo Goba

The South African Police Service has opened an inquest docket after a body was found in the wheel well of a Nigerian plane after it landed at OR Tambo International Airport.

"We have opened an inquest docket and what we established is that that particular body was already in a state of decomposition and we are unable to give details as to who this person is at this stage‚" said Brigadier Selvy Mohlala‚ adding that investigations are currently under way.


According to the Mohlala‚ the body was found around 7am on Wednesday when the technicians were servicing the flight and immediately opened a case at the airport-based police station.

He said the police do not have any statistics on the number of incidences or cases similar to this that have occurred at OR Tambo International Airport‚ but will communicate in due course if they get further information.

Arik Air spokesperson Adebanji Ola said in a statement: “The lifeless body of a stowaway was on Wednesday‚ November 30‚ 2016 found in the main wheel well of one of Arik Air's A330-200 aircraft.

"Investigations are ongoing to determine how the stowaway found his way into the aircraft's main wheel well."

A non-stop flight from Lagos‚ Nigeria to Johannesburg‚ takes approximately six hours and 10 minutes‚ if operated by South African Airways. The fastest one-stop flight between Johannesburg and Lagos takes close to 8 hours. However‚ some airlines could take as long as 40 hours depending on their stopovers and waiting periods.

FTI Consulting Managing Director and Head of Communications Max Gebhardt said Airport Company South Africa was not in a position to comment on the matter and referred all queries to Arik Air.

Efforts to get hold of Arik Air's spokesperson drew a blank.

Gebhardt said there have been no other reported incidents of stowaways being found at OR Tambo International Airport in recent years.