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back to article The Man Who Fell to Earth: Plane plummet plod probe phone

The man who spread himself across a street in Mortlake, London, after falling from an aircraft undercarriage has been identified. Police finally managed to crack open the SIM in his pocket and study it to discover who he was. Jose Matada was the chap's name and he was 30 years old, the BBC tells us. He landed on Portman Avenue …

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Man...

...that's a really shitty way to go. Poor bastard. =/

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Re: Man...

A sad tale, indeed.

I can't help thinking, though, that the media's insistance on spreading the misinformation that illegal immigrants get free housing, healthcare and benefits in the UK serves to encourage this sort of desperate attempt to enter the country.

Poor fella.

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Coat

Re: Man...

It really is, but I'm not sure El Reg has the tone of this article right; A bit light hearted and flippant for my liking. Or maybe I'm just a bit sensitive in my old age?

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Meh

Re: Man...

Kinda 50/50 I think. My morbid side can see the amusement in some of the phrases used but my more human side feels sorry for the guy. Doesn't help that some of the later comments are pointing stuff I wasn't even aware of, like the bends.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Man...

> misinformation that illegal immigrants get free housing, healthcare and benefits in the UK

It isn't complete misinformation. Had he survived then he could have reported to immigration and claimed asylum. Whilst his asylum status is being assessed he *might* be entitled to housing and support (it depends entirely upon his circumstances). The support is not called benefits and is not claimed in the same way as benefits.

Irrespective of his asylum or immigration status he would be entitled to free primary healthcare.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Man...

I wonder if he was collecting air miles?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Man...

Spending 8 hours and 40 minutes in the wheel well of an aircraft flying form Angola to London at 25,000 feet with an air density of 0.039 and an outside temp of approximate -50 to -51C there is every chance he would have died of hypoxia and hypothermia during the flight. They body would have been in a frozen state and then defrosted on the decent or holding pattern over London. the corpse would have remained fresh until it hit the ground.

Even if he was still alive at the landing stage, unlikely because he was lightly dressed, it is highly unlikely that he would have been conscious.

He would have become unconscious very quickly after take off and know nothing of his ordeal.

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Facepalm

Re: Man...

Your comments confirm it is misinformation. Asylum seekers are not "illegal immigrants". You need reasons to claim asylum. You cannot just walk into the country and be qualified to seek asylum.

And illegal immigrants do not qualify for anything legal - housing, benefits, etc. Some exceptions exist eg children.

I believe only A&E is available, where no questions are asked of your legal status, as it may deal with loss of life, where putting national boundaries and laws on hold does not seem to be the wrong thing to do to me.

Stop reading the Daily Mail.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Man...

> Asylum seekers are not "illegal immigrants".

Correct

> You need reasons to claim asylum. You cannot just walk into the country and be qualified to seek asylum.

But your claim has to be investigated which takes time. While that is happening ...

If an illegal immigrant attempts to claim housing then the Border Agency are informed. The Border Agency then becomes responsible for them and will either put them in an Immigration Removal Centre (there are 12 of them in the country) or release them on their own recognisance. But the important thing is the Border agency are responsible for them so they have to provide accommodation, if they do not have it, whilst the deportation proceedings are ongoing. This accommodation is not always in a Removal Centre.

> I believe only A&E ... Stop reading the Daily Mail.

They are entitled to Primary Health Care. A recent documentary* by that other bastion of "right wing" thought, otherwise known as Panorama on the BBC, revealed that due to recent cases involving the Human Rights Act, the NHS must provide Primary Health Care to all who request it. This is irrespective of whether they live here or have just got off a plane on a visit.

* The documentary was about the blackmarket sale of places on GP lists. One of the things they revealed was that there is no longer any need for a blackmarket because the NHS now has to provide primary health care to everybody.

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Re: Man...

Again, providing accommodation is *not* the same as being eligible for and claiming benefits. This as Daily Mail language, twisting words to imply something sinister.

Illegals have to put up somewhere, just like prisoners. The HMPS is responsible for providing accommodation for prisoners, just like the UKBA is for illegal immigrants. You don't go saying prisoners are claiming "housing benefit" because they are spending time in prison.

Stop using exceptions to define how the system is run. My original point remains - illegal immigrants are not allowed access to benefits - housing, Job seekers, whatever. They don't get NI numbers.

As for Panorama - what the GPs were doing is illegal. The way you are putting it, private medical care would be illegal because of the Human Rights Act. That is not true. Only emergency care needs to be provided under the Human Rights Act, routine care is not. A good example is cancer treatment, the NHS does not offer everything under the sun because of cost, this is not illegal.

So what you say is still misinformation.

Also Panorama prioritises sensationalism. The BBC's token vehicle for "balanced" reporting. But that bit would be my opinion.

The rest isn't.

The reason the guy tried to get into the country as a stoway was to hope to walk out of the airport without border control. I don't think there are any successful stories, but desperation can drive people to these unfortunate decisiosn.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Man...

The current NHS rules to GP's are that they accept everyone irrespective of their immigration status. This has no impact on private medical care as it is private and not public. Cancer treatment is, in fact, Tertiary Care and so does not have to be provided although they would have to provide treatment for the effects (pain, nausea etc) and, if the effects were bad enough, a hospital bed.

Primary Care is the routine stuff, the colds and flu, infections, and some not so routine stuff like diabetes and asthma. Here is the World Health Organisation classification of Primary Health Care: http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/adaptations/icpc2/en/index.html

Secondary Care is handled by specialists and professionals. For example cardiologists, clinical psychologists, physiotherapists etc. To get Secondary Care you must have had Primary Care and be referred.

Tertiary Care is usually (but not always) very specialised and takes place in specialist units so this would be the cancer care, cardiac units, brain surgery etc.

Once you have access to primary care, you have access to all the other levels as no checks are made at the other levels since they involve a referral from primary care.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Man...

"...and an outside temp of approximate -50 to -51C..."

On impact, did he splat or shatter?

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Anonymous Coward

Could he have survived the flight?

I thought it was possible to survive a short flight in the undercarriage but Angola is awfully far. It's such a pity these poor buggers still think they can turn up and be given a house.

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Silver badge

Re: Could he have survived the flight?

Unless you know where to tuck yourself in, you'll probably be crushed by retraction of the undercarriage (parts of which can also get quite hot on the takeoff run). After that you've only got to survive anoxia and hypothermia for a few hours. Good luck!

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Silver badge

Re: Could he have survived the flight?

There are three things against survival. Lack of oxygen is one, low temperature the second, and the third is the fact that there isn't much spare room in a wheel well, so being crushed is highly likely as the wheels are retracted.

That and I suspect that unless you're ready for it, the lowering of the undercarriage happens rather suddenly and there's a good chance of falling out even if you were still in a condition to care.

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Alert

Re: Could he have survived the flight?

The wheels are also very heavy (unless it was the nose gear they contain brakes powerful enough to slow down several hundred tonnes of aircraft - that ain't light), and are still spinning on retraction.

Given the take-off speed of a long-haul jet is around 200 mph, that's going to be a very messy - and mercifully short - meeting of man and rubber.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Could he have survived the flight?

> After that you've only got to survive anoxia and hypothermia for a few hours.

If he made it past the crushing, the hypoxia and the hypothermia, he would have been in agony due to having the bends.

Dropping onto a London street was adding a minor insult to already very fatal injury. I have nothing but sympathy for this poor bastard.

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Re: Could he have survived the flight?

"The wheels [...] are still spinning on retraction."

It's a minor point given all the other factors, but on most aircraft that isn't necessarily true. For example it's SOP on the 757 and 767 to lightly dab the brakes once you're in positive rate of climb, to avoid cabin vibration and gyroscopic effects while the gear is retracted.

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Re: Could he have survived the flight?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19562101

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Boffin

Re: Could he have survived the flight?

Looking at the papers on the subject, a couple of things stand out.

1 - Stowaways typically pick a sensible place near the upper hinge point of the u/c leg. This is nowhere near the wheel, so they are unlikely to die when the wheel is retracted. They may fall out during the take-off process (accelerations can be quite high, as can the angle of climb) but if they survive this they are set for the flight.

2 - Unless the flight is unusually low or short for some reason, the environment will rapidly get very cold and low on oxygen. Oddly, these impacts work together to make the situation barely survivable. At typical low temperatures of -55C, the body can enter a hypothermic hibernation state, a state in which very little oxygen is needed to maintain life. In about half the identified attempts the stowaway's body manages to achieve this delicate balance, such that they are still alive (though comatose) at the end of the flight. If the stowaway were to have brought insulating clothing, they would have died rapidly unless they also had access to several hours supply of oxygen...

If the stowaway fails to achieve this balance they will die, and their dead body will probably fall from the undercarriage well when the door opens. If they do survive, they may gradually regain consciousness as the plane descends into higher air pressures and warms up. If the U/C doors open before they are fully conscious, they may fall out anyway. If the plane descends slowly or waits in a holding pattern, they may regain enough consciousness to hold on properly as the doors open and the plane lands.

It seems unlikely that a stowaway who had passed through this experience would be physically able to descend from an aircraft after landing and escape unnoticed. They would probably remain in the wheel-well and call to a ground staff worker as the jet was being attended to. I would expect them to need removing on a stretcher, and undergo immediate treatment in hospital...

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Re: Could he have survived the flight?

Lack of oxygen would've likely been the main death cause as them wheel bay is sealed off from the rest of the plane so he would've died from that first (yes the crushed or when the gear came down is likely as well)

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WTF?

Re: Could he have survived the flight?

I'm sure I have read of people who have survived it. One case in particular I remember because one survived but the other one (who was his brother IIRC) fell when the landing gear opened. That one was from The Gambia and that's a 5-6 hour flight.

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Stop

Orly?

SIMs store last numbers dialed? In that case, why do you never see the last dialed numbers if you put a SIM into an unused phone? And if it's true, what other data is stored on SIMs that isn't obvious?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Orly?

The GSM specification states that when a different SIM is placed in a device the call history data is deleted for security.

Not all handsets populate the SIM call registers either.

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Flash (ahhhaaa)

Were they not able to recover data off the flash memory in the phone? Whilst I realize the device may have been smashed up, I've never seen a microchip shatter in a dropped device. Yes, it may become separated from the board its mounted to, but Id imagine it wouldn't be beyond the whit of experts to find the data sheet, wire it back up correctly and extract the info?

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Big Brother

Re: Flash (ahhhaaa)

t probably isn't beyond the wit of 'experts' and GCHQ spooks to decode such items much quicker than a reported seven months.

They're not going to tell us plebs what they can do, are they?

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Re: Flash (ahhhaaa)

I have used a scanning electron microscope to watch a chip function and debug a few problems (the sem caused a few too!) so it might be possible to observe a SIM under similar conditions and read quite a lot of what goes on.

Having seen spooks walk in and stop work on a voice encryption chip in the early 80's I wouldn't be surprised if they were involved in making sure they could get in to a SIM easily - the hard thing is preventing Joe Public working out how they do it - pretending it takes months may be part of that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Flash (ahhhaaa)

IIRC the IMSI and ICCID numbers are still readable from a SIM when pin locked and easily readable with basic smart card readers. It would be a lot easier to use these numbers and ask the issuer of the SIM (easily identified from the ICCID/IMSI) for the PUK.

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Anonymous Coward

Mentally Ill perhaps?

Who, in their right mind, would think you could survive such an ordeal? No one, in their right mind!

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@Obviously

"Mentally Ill perhaps?"

Totally desperate seems more plausible to me. The "who cares if I die out there or out here, I'll be dead anyway".

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Anonymous Coward

And down voters must obviously be mentally ill too! WTF?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Obviously

someone who is "Totally desperate" can not be deemed to be in the right frame of mind! (oh,wow)

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Anonymous Coward

> Who, in their right mind, would think you could survive such an ordeal?

Or perhaps someone who has limited knowledge of aeroplanes but has seen it done countless times in Hollywood films?

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Actually, I haven't seen it done once in Hollywood films.

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Thumb Up

Good detective work

Good detective work from whoever found this out. Most police forces around the world would have given up ages ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Dead long before he fell

He was dead long before he fell from the plane. Without a pressurized suit and oxygen supply at anything above 10,000 feet altitude, he was dead in minutes.

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Anonymous Coward

Angola can't be that bad

The unemployed Portuguese are going there according to bbc...

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FAIL

Ouch!

The only case I know of anyone surviving this sort of thing was a couple of kids that escaped from Cuba to Florida in the 70’s. A much shorter trip, and the plane probably didn’t fly as high, either. They also tied themselves into the wheel wells with rope so they wouldn’t fall out.

So, not really a survivable way to fly. As Zaphod said, “OK, so ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking, yeah?”

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Not very bright

But very dead.

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