NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 13 – A man who appeared on a Sky News television report authenticating an e-fit image of a stowaway who fell off a Kenya Airways flight to London’s Heathrow Airport on June 30 has now denied claims the 29-year-old man identified as Paul Manyasi is his son.
Isaac Manyasi told KTN News Wednesday morning he believed his son – who he identified as Shirunja Isaac – is still alive, claiming he was being detained at the Industrial Area Police station.
“It certainly cannot be him. I don’t believe so,” he said.
“I haven’t reached my son since July 2017. I believe my son is alive because someone who lived with him told me a week ago that my son was being held at Industrial Area Police Station.”
In a Sky News report that premiered on Tuesday, Isaac and his wife Janet confirmed e-fit images provided by the London Metropolitan Police as a matching depiction of their missing son.
Janet even appealed for aid to repatriate his body for burial at their home in Kakamega.
“I would really love for him to be buried here but the expenses won’t allow us,” she said.
The family told the British broadcaster’s Africa Correspondent – John Sparks – their son left Kakamega for the city in 2016 and they had until July 2017 been in touch with him.
An e-fit of the stowaway was released by the Metropolitan Police on October 18 after authorities failed to match him to any identification documents.
The denial by the family came against the backdrop of a statement by the Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) which manages the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) where the flight carrying the stowaway originated disputing reports that Paul Manyasi worked at the airport.
KAA said the name Paul Manyasi was missing in its list of staff cleared to work at the airport.
“A security multi-agency team has conducted investigations on the allegations made in the (Sky) news article to the effect that the stowaway worked at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and would like to state that the identity of the stowaway is an open and active investigation and any information received will be investigated to ensure a factual conclusion,” KAA said in a statement.
“The name Paul Manyasi does not appear in the airport pass biometric register,” the agency added.
Manyasi fell off the June 30 Kenya Airways flight to London’s Heathrow Airport as it begun its decent after a nine-hour flight from Nairobi.
His body smashed into a garden in a residential property in Clapham, South London, at about 3.30pm local time.
The stowaway concealed himself in the plane’s rear left landing gear well.
A bag, food and water were discovered in the plane’s landing gear compartment after authorities conducted a search on Kenya Airways’ flight 100 having traced the spot where the body fell to the plane’s flight path as it approached Heathrow.
The national carrier issued a statement on July 1 describing the incident as unfortunate adding that it was working with the police who had reached out to the Kenya High Commission in London to help in identifying the body.
“The incident has been treated as a sudden death and is now a police matter. The police have already been in contact with the Kenya High Commission to help identify and name the person,” a statement from Kenya Airways read.
“The aircraft was inspected, and no damage was reported. It was cleared for operation,” the airline added.
The carrier said that it will remain in contact with authorities both in Nairobi and London “as they fully investigate this case”.
The 6,840km flight to London takes 8 hours 50 minutes according to Kenya Airways.
The high altitude flown by planes on such routes would make it impossible for a person to survive with temperatures at cruising altitude getting as low as minus 56 °C and oxygen supply diminishing.
Stowaways often die due to freezing and lack of oxygen supply.
KAA had indicated that an investigation had been launched to establish circumstances under which the stowaway accessed the airside.
“We wish to reiterate that Safety and Security is a priority at our airports and this incident is being treated with the seriousness it deserves,” the agency said at the time.