HARARE – Zimbabwean civil aviation authorities found the body of a suspected stowaway on a US-registered cargo plane carrying cash for the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb), the airline and South Africa's ambassador in Harare said on Monday.
The MD11 cargo plane, owned by Florida-based Western Global Airlines, had stopped to refuel at Harare's domestic airport on Sunday when the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe discovered the body and grounded the plane.
South Africa's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela told Reuters six crew and a few officials from the SARB were onboard.
"Unfortunately there was a stowaway that was found on the plane and (Zimbabwe) authorities are trying to get to the bottom of the issue," he said.
"Where did the person get in there? When and how? Because the crew and the reserve bank authorities who were there accompanying the cargo were not aware," he said.
Police said investigations were under way, but declined to provide details.
It was not immediately clear what had happened to the plane's crew. State-owned television ZBC TV said they included two Americans, one South African and a Pakistani.
The plane was leased to Network Airlines of Britain and the cargo belonged to South Africa's central bank, plane owner Western Global Airlines said in an e-mail to Reuters.
"The body is presumed to be a stowaway who may have entered the aeroplane during a previous stop," the company said in a statement.
Pradeep Maharaj, group executive at the bank, said the organisation was working with Zimbabwean officials to have the plane and cargo released.