09/11/2012 10:12 am ET Updated Sep 11, 2012

Suspected Stowaway Plummets To Ground In London Neighborhood In Heathrow Flight Path

Residents in a tony London neighborhood located in the Heathrow flight path woke up Sunday morning to find the mutilated body of a man who may have attempted to stow away in a plane's wheel well.

The man may have fallen out of his hiding place, plummeting thousands of feet to the pavement as the landing gear descended, the Telegraph reports.

The victim, who is still unidentified, is believed to be a man in his 30s. The body hit a parked car with such force that neighbors reported seeing pools of blood, according to the Sun.

So far, no one has come forward claiming to have seen the body fall from the sky, but witnesses have detailed the immediate aftermath, with one neighbor describing the remains as being "all twisted up."

Billy Watson, 26, who lives by where the man fell, told the Telegraph that, "Bits of [the] body were just everywhere, and the police were putting their cones by them. The bits had spread about 20 to 30ft away and there was a bit of him in front of my car."

Another man by the name of James described the scene to the London Evening Standard : "We assumed it could have been a crime scene but if you reflect on it, he would have been screaming out if he was being attacked," he said.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said officers were still investigating. "The death is currently being treated as unexplained. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the male's identity," she said, according to HuffPost UK, adding that the stowaway theory is "one line of inquiry" for authorities.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), these types of scenarios, while not unheard of, almost always end in tragedy.

"The temperatures in the undercarriage reach -40C [-40F] at high altitudes, so the person has basically frozen to death. There is virtually no chance of someone surviving that," CAA spokesman Richard Taylor told the Telegraph. "It is surprising that people still do it. I guess they don’t realize they have very little chance of surviving."

In fact, despite the obvious risks, cases of such stowaway deaths are fairly common.

Two Cuban schoolboys who attempted to stow away on a British Airways flight from Havana to Gatwick in the United Kingdom died in a similar fashion, slipping into unconsciousness as the plane gained high altitude before falling to the ground, according to the Daily Mail.

And last April, the body of 16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale was found in the flight path near Boston Logan International Airport. Investigators said they believed the teenager crawled into the craft's wheel well while the plane idled on the tarmac in Charlotte, N.C., the Associated Press reported at the time.



View from Heathrow's Control Tower