Aviation officials in Saudi Arabia are trying to answer the question: Why were human body parts reported to have fallen from the sky in the city of Jeddah?
A citizen called in the unusual sighting to police overnight Sunday. “Police received a telephone call at 2:30 am from a witness reporting the fall of human remains at an intersection in Mushrefa neighborhood” in the port city, spokesman Nawaf bin Naser al-Bouq said in a statement quoted by the French news agency Agence France-Presse.
Bouq further suggested that investigators are looking at the possibility that a stowaway had become trapped in an aircraft’s undercarriage and that his remains “fell from a plane’s landing gear.”
In a separate incident, a Saudi Arabian Airlines jet made an emergency landing in Medina on Sunday during which 29 passengers were injured. A spokesman for the General Authority of Civil Aviation told AFP that the two incidents were not connected.
There have been a number of past reported cases of stowaways hiding in aircraft wheel wells, including some who have survived.
In July, the body of a stowaway was found in the landing gear of a British Airways Airbus A320 at London’s Heathrow Airport.
In August, a Nigerian teenager hid in the undercarriage of an aircraft on a 45-minute domestic flight to Lagos and lived to reach his destination.
In 2010, an unemployed Romanian stowaway hid in the same part of a Boeing-747 and survived an 800-mile flight from Vienna to London. He survived the temperature of -41 during the flight which reached an elevation of 25,000 feet.
“Airport officials say the man could easily have been crushed by the plane’s wheels or killed by a lack of oxygen and was ‘incredibly lucky’ to be alive,” the Daily Mail reported in 2010.