By Monica Sowa,
International News Writer
Zimbabwe airport attendants found more than an empty fuel tank when they went to refuel a cargo plane on Monday, Feb. 15. The attendants discovered a corpse and a large sum of money onboard the carrier after following a trail of blood dripping from the plane.
According to Zimbabwe’s newspaper, The Herald, the captain requested to land in Harare for a technical landing during the flight from Germany to South Africa. His initial request to land in Mozambique was turned down.
The plane is a MD11 cargo owned by Western Global Airline, an American based airline. It is a privately owned company that leases out cargo planes. It boasts low rates, and a fast growing demand. This company and model of plane was one of the only ones that leased its planes out to deliver goods and medicine to Africa in the middle of the Ebola crisis.
Because these planes are Cargo planes, the only people on board were the crew, which consisted of two Americans, a South African and a Pakistani. All were unaware of the presence of the dead person on board.
For this reason, the body is thought to be a stowaway and appeared to be suspended in the plane. According to CBS, it is thought that the person’s arm was severed after he snuck into the plane and the landing gear contracted.
The body is yet to be identified, and the details of cause of death are still unknown.
According to the Associated Press, Charity Charamba, a Zimbabwe police spokesperson, has said that they are still investigation the matter: “Our officers are on the ground investigating the case. We are working hard to get the identity of this dead person but I will only give clearer details when investigations are complete. The body has been taken for tests by experts.”
The large sum of money that was found with the body actually belongs to the South African Reserve Bank, which is South Africa’s central bank. The cargo plane was transferring the money from Germany to South Africa.
A senior official of the bank, Pradeep Maharaj, issued a statement regarding this incident: “The South African Reserve Bank is aware of an aircraft carrying a SARM consignment that stopped in Harare and was detained following the discovery of an unidentified body that is presumed to be a stowaway on the aircraft.”
The exact amount of money found on the aircraft is unknown, but the Herald reports that there appeared to be millions of South African rands on the plane. To put this in perspective, one million rand is approximately $62,500.
The Civil Aviation Authorities of Zimbabwe are currently working with the bank and South African ambassadors to transfer that money back to the South African Reserve Bank.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 23rd print edition.
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