Man found at Gatwick hidden in TUI aircraft undercarriage died of hyperthermia

TUI Boeing 737-8 MAX
Somdiaviao / Creative Commons

A court in the United Kingdom (UK) has heard that a man who was found hidden in the undercarriage of a TUI operated plane died of hyperthermia.  

The unidentified man was found on December 7, 2022, by staff at London-Gatwick Airport (LGW) in the North Terminal at around 4am. 

His body was discovered in the wheel well on the right side of the plane after it arrived from Banjul International Airport (BJL) in The Gambia at 3.30 am.  

According to Evening Standard, when the deceased man was found he was dressed in a dark-colored fleece top and tracksuit type bottoms, no socks and plastic-style sandals. 

Without any identification on the deceased man, Sussex Police launched an appeal for the public’s help in the UK and in The Gambia. 

An e-fit of the man, who police believed to be aged in his 20s or 30s, was circulated in the UK and passed onto Gambian authorities.  

However, Joanne Andrews, area coroner for West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, told the Chichester Coroner’s Court on February 14, 2024, that the man had still not been identified. 

 “On the evidence, it is more likely than not I will have to record his death as an anonymous male. It is extremely sad he has not been able to be identified,” the coroner said. 

The coroner reached a narrative conclusion over the man’s death and said that he probably entered the undercarriage before takeoff.  

“There is no evidence how he became to be within the plane, but he sadly died of hypothermia,” the coroner added. 

The inquest was subsequently closed but the coroner advised that it could be reopened if new evidence was presented 

The journey between The Gambia and the UK is over 3,500 miles and temperatures can fall to –55C degrees at cruising altitude. 

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