The man who dropped from a KQ plane as it landed in the UK has been identified… but KAA says they never heard of him.

The drop. A kilometer long. Took 20 seconds or so.

It was sunny and warm on 30 June as residents in south London finished their lunch and unwound on a leisurely Sunday afternoon.  

But the peace was shattered in Offerton Road with a terrifying thump. 

A man occupied a crater in one of the back gardens after falling through the sky for a kilometre.

His lifeless frame had pulverised the concrete and mangled the lawn and he had barely missed a tenant on a sun-lounger.

A witness said the man looked like a “block of ice”.

The locals were shocked and puzzled. Did he have a name? Where did he come from? Was he a stowaway on a passenger plane?

Had he risked his existence in a desperate attempt to improve it?

Sky News has spent the last few months trying to determine the identity of this individual and we now believe he is a 29-year-old who worked as an airport cleaner in Kenya.

His girlfriend said they had planned to start a family, but he made a decision that virtually guaranteed his demise.

Yes, he does have a name.  The man who created a hole in the garden just 3ft from the end of the sun bed of the residents was called Paul Manyasi.

Paul Manyasi

Paul Manyasi.

It had only taken 20 seconds or so for him to plummet from a Kenya Airways passenger plane to the ground. He had hidden in the Boeing 787’s landing compartment and fallen when the wheels were lowered for landing.

Still, the stowaway was probably dead before he hit the ground.

The plane had spent eight hours at 37,000ft (11,277m), where oxygen levels are thin and the cold is colder than any deep-freeze. Passengers are protected in a pressurised cabin but the stowaway was subjected to the elements.

His fate was sealed when he hid himself away.  

For Emeric Molnar (one of the residents of the neighbourhood where Manyasi had landed) it was an unexpected reminder of global disparities.

“It came as a bit of a shock for everybody… here we are living our very affluent lifestyles in a very wealthy country and people are obviously drawn towards a country like this.”

A cleaner from Colnet

How he got in.

In Kenya, Sky News reporter and a local journalist went to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.  They asked around is anyone one had been reported missing. It was a long shot, but it soon paid off, for they found someone who informed them that indeed there was a missing person.

Anybody gone missing?”  John Sparks (the reporter) asked.

“Yeah. A cleaner from Colnet. He went missing around the same time. Some [airport] workers were talking about it,” he was told by a taxi driver.

It was a scrap of information that felt like something solid after hours of fruitless questioning – and it gave us somewhere to start.

Colnet is one of dozens of firms providing services at Jomo Kenyatta International. It deploys hundreds of people as cleaners and sanitation workers and the company does pest control as well.

The pay is poor. Companies like Colnet offer their employees around 9,000 Kenyan shillings a month in take-home pay. It works out to roughly £2.25 a day.

According to the head of Kenya’s aviation workers union, Moses Ndiema, working conditions at the airport are barely tolerable. 

“The work environment and job security are not good. The salary is very low,” Mr Ndiema said.

“[Employees] can’t pay for good accommodation or places where there is security, running water… staff are fired before they hit six months [of service] because companies are supposed to offer fix-term contracts.

“It creates a precarious work environment.”

We reached out to a number of current and former workers at Colnet and met several at an Irish-themed bar called Craic, near the airport.

A women called Irene said she could help us. We have changed her name to protect her identity.

Girlfriend confirms

The hiding place.

She told us her colleague at Colnet had gone missing at the end of June. His name was Paul Manyasi.

“The last time I saw him, we were at work, he suddenly disappeared, nobody knows where he went,” she said.

“Did you go to work with him?” I asked.

“Yes, I was with him in the morning.”

Irene said she was told to clean inside the passenger terminal on 30 June while Paul was assigned to the area outside. At the end of their shift, she could not find him anywhere.

“He suddenly disappeared, nobody knows where he went”Irene, Paul Manyasi’s girlfriend

“How did you realise he was gone?” I inquired. 

“I called his phone and it was off. When we came in the morning the following day the supervisor called us and told us there is somebody missing. [The supervisor had told them] We are not sure of the person so we keep it a secret until we know the person.”

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has since denied the existence of Paul Manyasi in their registers. They say they have never heard of anyone going by that name.

This article was first published by Sky News, written by John Sparks, Sky News Africa correspondent

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