A dead man really did fall from the sky

"A dead man fell from the sky, landing at my feet with a thump."  That was the first line in my first book: The Pericles Commission.  

When I wrote that line, I was thinking, what's the most ridiculous way to discover a body that anyone could imagine?  What's something that couldn't possibly happen?

Well, now it's happened.  Residents of Mortlake in London on the 8th September at 7.42am were surprised when a dead man fell from the sky, and landed in one of their residential streets with a resounding thump.

It seems the victim was a stowaway on a jet, who like others before him had decided to hide in the landing gear compartment.  Mortlake is under the flightpath for Heathrow airport.  When the landing wheels descended, out he came.  He was probably already dead.  Very few people can survive unprotected at 30,000 feet.

Here's the story from the BBC news.  They still don't know who he was.

When I began this blog I was stuck for a title, so I used A dead man fell from the sky as a placeholder.  I figured I'd change it later to something that looked more official.

But then when the series sold, and I revamped the web site and changed the name to The Athenian Mysteries, the one piece of clear feedback that came winging back to me was that everyone liked the original name!  So A dead man fell from the sky I am, and shall remain.  But this is a very weird example of life imitating art.


Jane | @janelebak said...

We had a similar situation in the US a year or two ago. I believe a young man stowed away in an airplane wheel well from Miami, Florida to either Boston or New York, and was found on the street in a suburb on the flight path to the airport. :-(

Jane | @janelebak said...

Found it:

Gary Corby said...

That's a very odd and sad one indeed. He apparently had no need to stow away.

I wonder if the people who try this have thought out how they're going to survive the landing? Their best chance might be a base jump parachute and a lot of practice.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Not sure if it counts, but there was a guy a number of years ago who jumped off the roof of a six-story parking garage in Anchorage. There were pedestrians standing below who were unaware until he landed on the sidewalk next to them.

That's actually what I thought of when I read the first line of The Pericles Commission. Strange for sure, but it can happen, apparently more than once.

Gary Corby said...

Good point Stephanie. Come to think of it, there were a few cases in mediaeval times when army commanders with a compassion deficit loaded dead bodies into their catapults during sieges (to spread disease within the target city). That would have made for an interesting sight when they landed.

Anonymous said...

Dead men often fall from the sky.

They have no alternative.