US Plane Impounded In Zimbabwe; Body And Cash Found On Board


Harare Airport – The Zimbabwean aviation authorities have impounded a U.S. cargo plane, after a dead body believed to be a stowaway and millions of South African rand were found on board, a senior official said on Monday.

The MD-11 trijet, according to the Herald; a state-run newspaper, was traveling from Germany to South Africa “with millions of rands.” At today’s exchange rate, 1 million rand is worth $62,500.

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From what the authorities here discovered, the money belonged to the South Africa Reserve Bank, the country’s central bank.

The general manager of Civil Aviation Authority, David Chawota, said the plane had landed in Harare for refueling. He said the jet, registered with Western Global Airlines, was impounded at Harare airport on Sunday and according to a  website, the Western Global Airlines is based in Estero, Florida. The airline on Monday said the cargo belonged to the South African Reserve Bank and the dead body is presumably a stowaway. Zimbabwe police said it was still investigating the matter.

The crew did not know there was someone else on the plane, according to a police officer, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press. It appears from photos on social media that the dead person had sneaked into the plane’s landing gear, which severed his arm when it contracted, causing blood to splatter onto the fuselage and arousing the suspicion of the ground crew when the flight landed here.

The crew according to the Herald includes two Americans, a South African and a Pakistani.

In a response to AP queries, Western Global Airlines said it didn’t have the identity of the dead person, believed to be a stowaway.

Zimbabwe police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said investigations are still underway.

“Our officers are on the ground investigating the case. We are working hard to get the identity of this dead person but I will only give clearer details when investigations are complete. The body has been taken for tests by experts,” she said on Monday night.

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