The stowaway clung to a jumbo jet at -60 ° C and survived a 5,600-mile flight, but his companions plunged to death.
Themba Cabeka, 30, retained the jet substructure during an 11-hour flight from South Africa to London Heathrow in 2015.
He had lost consciousness in the hospital for six months after being found on the runway at an airport in London.
After Tenba got out of the coma, he was told that his best friend, who began his journey, fell to his death at 5,000 feet.
Tenba had an electrical cable wrapped around her arm and tied to an airplane, but she fainted due to lack of oxygen shortly after taking off from Johannesburg on June 18, 2015.
This was the first time Themba or his companion Carlito Vale had boarded an airplane.
Karleet was also fleeing poverty in South Africa and their campsite when he and his friends crawled into the wheel arch of a jet plane.
But just minutes before landing, he fell off a British Airways plane.
His body was found in an air conditioning unit in Richmond’s office block, six miles from Heathrow Airport.
Flying for life
A 30-year-old recalls: “When the plane was flying, I could see the ground, I could see the cars, I could see the little people.
“After a while, I fainted due to lack of oxygen.
“The last thing I remember right after the plane took off was what Curlyt told me:” Yes, we did it. “
“We had to push ourselves in. I could hear the engine running.
“I used to be thrilled, but I had just decided that day, so I didn’t mind at all.
“I knew how dangerous it was, but I took advantage of my chance.
“I didn’t care if I was alive or dead. I had to leave Africa to survive.”
He remembers a police officer waking up from a coma six months later, showing him his passport and asking if he knew him.
The policeman then said to him: “He never did it. He fell on the building.”
Five and a half years later, Themba, now adopting the name Justin, went into exile and lives in Liverpool.
Doctors believe he survived because sub-zero temperatures kept him “asphyxia.”
When core body temperature dropped, his vital organs went into “standby mode” and consumed less oxygen.
Tenba still suffers from the guilt that he survived, but his friends did not.
He said: “I missed his funeral because I was in a coma.
“It was sad that he was buried and couldn’t say goodbye, so I went to plant flowers in his grave.
“I miss his existence. I called him” another mother’s younger brother. ” He is the only man who knew me better than anyone, where I came from.
“We feel that we are on a long journey together, so even if he is gone, he is still my friend.”
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Although 109 stowaway attempts have been recorded worldwide, only 24 have seized the opportunity with the landing gear of an airplane.
London is one of the most popular places for stowaways.
Themba was approached by Channel 4 producer Rich Bentley. He tracked him to an apartment in Liverpool for the documentary “The Man Who Fell From the Sky”.
The stowaway survived a 5,600-mile flight clinging to a jumbo jet wheel at -60 ° C until his companion plunged to death.
SourceThe stowaway survived a 5,600-mile flight clinging to a jumbo jet wheel at -60 ° C until his companion plunged to death.