A body found on board a U.S. registered plane – impounded in Zimbabwe while transporting millions of South African Rands – is reportedly in an advanced stage of decomposition.
As reported by the Inquisitr, the plane belongs to a U.S. company, Western Global Airlines, and had been leased by a British company to transfer millions of freshly-minted South African rand notes from Munich in Germany – where they were printed – to the South African Reserve Bank via Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.
The plane and its contents were impounded in Zimbabwe after ground staff at the Harare International Airport noticed blood dripping from the plane as it was being refueled.
— NDTV (@ndtv) February 16, 2016
As reported by Times Live, since then it has been established the body – most likely that of a stowaway on the plane – was in an advanced state of decomposition and what was initially thought to be blood was most likely other bodily fluids. The liquid was seen oozing from a small cabin known as the Electronic and Navigation Accessories (ENA), high up on the aircraft. When the door to the ENA was opened, the body reportedly fell out onto the ground at Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe.
The body was of a black male adult carrying no identification, who is understood to have been dead for some time and officials are not sure if he was a stowaway or was related in some way to conditions on the plane, according to tweets from Chris Chivinge of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). The body has not yet been identified.
According to the Independent Online, prior to loading its cargo in Munich, the plane previously touched down in Nigeria, Belgium, and Uganda, so it is not sure at which airport the man might have gained access to the plane. The plane, traveling under flight number AJK 4130, reportedly lost signal, prompting the pilot to seek an emergency landing in Zimbabwe.
— allAfrica.com (@allafrica) February 16, 2016
Officials in Harare removed the man’s body from the plane on Monday, placing the corpse in a metal coffin which had been hoisted up to an opening in the fuselage of the plane. A post-mortem is now being carried out to establish whether the man’s body is carrying viruses that could cause the spread of diseases in Zimbabwe.
Now, Zimbabwean authorities have called for help from Interpol as they probe the mystery discovery of the body on Sunday aboard the plane transporting newly printed South African rand notes to Durban.
According to Chivinge of the ZBC, the four-member crew of the plane, including at least one South African, says they knew nothing about the body but are assisting with inquiries. Reportedly, the crew is currently being kept in an undisclosed location for security reasons.
On board the plane were the U.S. captain, the co-pilot, a relief pilot, an engineer, and a load master and two South African Reserve Bank officials.
As reported by Bloomberg, South Africa is asking for the money in the impounded plane to be forwarded on. According to a statement from the Pretoria-based Reserve Bank on its website, “The aircraft currently detained at Harare Airport is carrying a consignment of South African banknotes that was produced overseas as part of the SARB’s [South African Reserve Bank] annual production plan.”
The bank is currently working together with authorities in Zimbabwe to ensure Harare releases the shipment and delivers it to South Africa. While the actual amount of the money involved is undisclosed, reportedly the cargo weighed some 57 tons and is said to be in the millions.
Reportedly the Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has had a meeting with diplomats from the U.S. Germany, South Africa and Pakistan in an effort to resolve the issue.