Police are working to identify a body that was found inside a British Airways passenger aircraft which landed at Heathrow on Thursday.
British Airways said the body was found inside the landing gear bay of a Boeing 747 after it arrived at the London airport from Cape Town, South Africa.
A company spokesman said: "We are liaising with the South African authorities and Cape Town airport after a body was found in the landing gear bay of one of our aircraft.
"They are investigating how this incident took place, which involved a Boeing 747 which arrived this morning from Cape Town.
"This is a very rare and sad event and our thoughts are with the individual's family."
The body was discovered inside the landing gear bay of a 747
The Metropolitan Police said the body was that of a man who was not a member of the jumbo jet's crew or a passenger on the flight. The death is not being treated as suspicious.
It is believed the dead man could be a person who was spotted scaling the fence at Cape Town International Airport last night before heading towards a BA flight getting ready to take off.
It is believed the man could have been an attempted stowaway from Cape Town, South Africa
Airports Company South Africa, which runs the airport, said it was carrying out an investigation.
A spokeswoman said: "Last night at approximately 8.40pm a person was detected scaling the perimeter fence at Cape Town International Airport (CTIA).
"The airport immediately responded and, as a security patrol officer attempted to apprehend the man, he ran in the direction of a British Airways aircraft already in its holding pattern ready for take-off.
"For safety reasons the security officer could not approach the aircraft.
"A search of the airfield was immediately conducted but the person was not found."