CAAZ impounds US cargo plane . . . Bleeding body, millions of rands found on board

The Western Global Airlines cargo plane impounded by security services at the Harare International Airport yesterday after the handling staff discovered a bleeding corpse aboard

The Western Global Airlines cargo plane impounded by security services at the Harare International Airport yesterday after the handling staff discovered a bleeding corpse aboard

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe yesterday impounded a chartered MD11 trijet cargo plane owned by Western Global Airlines stashed with millions of South African rands and a dead body after it asked to land in Harare during a flight from Germany to South Africa.During routine refuelling airport staff noticed blood dripping from the plane, the dead body found, and the alert given. Investigations were still in progress last night.

Western Global Airlines is based in southwest Florida in the United States of America. The plane was flying from Germany to South Africa when the captain asked for a technical landing at the Harare International Airport after an initial request to land in Mozambique was turned down.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe general manager Mr David Chaota confirmed the incident last night. “Yes, it is a Western Global Airlines plane and now the case is being handled by our security ” he said.

South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Vusi Mavimbela confirmed the incident last night but would not give details. “I spent the better of the day at the airport,” he said. “I am aware of what you are saying but I cannot comment now because there are investigations that are still going on.”

Sources close to the matter told The Herald last night that the plane was destined for South Africa. “The plane requested for a technical landing which was granted by the airport authorities,” said the source.

“Upon refueling, the airport attendants discovered that there was blood dripping from the plane. When they checked to try and ascertain where the blood was coming from that is when they discovered a suspended dead body in the plane.

“The matter was reported to the authorities at the airport and the plane was impounded while the body was taken to pathologists.” Unconfirmed reports say the crew included two Americans, a Pakistani and a South African. The whereabouts of the crew were unknown last night.

The nationality of the dead person could not be established by the time of going to print, nor any details of how he died. Western Global Airlines operates a fleet of 16 MD11 freighters, a modern stretched upgrade of the old DC10, according to its web site.

The private cargo line is owned by James and Sunny Neff and advertises that it has a good range of customers, including FedEx. It said aid agencies chartered it to fly staff and supplies into West Africa last year to fight the Ebola epidemic.

The last time Zimbabwean civil aviation authorities impounded a foreign plane was in 2004, when the authorities arrested a planeload of 64 mercenaries who wanted to take part in a coup in Equatorial Guinea. Efforts to get a comment from the police were fruitless as police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba’s mobile phone went unanswered.

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  • Judas Iscariot

    That’s a bizarre story. Something that you expect from horror movies.Waiting for the mystery to unfold.

    • Cecil Roars

      Judas, it seems that the headline is meant to maximise publicity of the US and nothing else. The US doesn’t not own the plane so I would just mention that inside the article if the ownership mattered.
      The same news appeared in News24 and it apparently shows that there are better editors at News 24 than at the Herald. While the Herald mentioned exactly what the cargo was , Need 24 said for security reasons it would not say whagbit was. From the Herald we know that the impounded aircraft contained milions of rands. Ironically the CEO of CAAZ is the one who have details of the cargo to the Herald butwithheld them for News 24.
      So one wonders whether journalism is real a profession where ethics are standardised. All in all it is shameful reporting.

      • kundai

        silly comment…

        • Cecil Roars

          Thank you but educate me on where the comment is silly. I would appreciate if you argue like a civilized person Thank you.

      • Manqoba

        Like you said, the money found was transported for and belonged to the South African Reserve Bank, and unofficial photos indicated the dead person has sneaked into the landing gear that severed his arm when closing. Didn’t say if it has previously stopped along the way from Germany.

      • ethics where, who, why?

        ethics, in Zimbabwe? please get real!

  • Tinoda Runyararo

    I hope this is case is solved, you give them their body, keep the Rands, jail the murderers…..send them away! But please, do not give them the money back….

    • succuba

      I that not tantamount to theft…. oh wait… this is Zimbabwe

    • Marunda

      Wagona Tino. Mari ngaisare. Ko ndege?

  • anonymous

    Obviously used for rendition, torture and movement of untraceable funds.

  • Kuta Kinte

    I applaud the vigilance with our Zimbabwean security. For now let us wait for details so that we are in a in a better position to comment guided by facts and evidence.

    • Observer gonzo

      I agree but really you cant miss it when fueling a plane anyway. But the biggest thumbs-up is they could have easily solicited a huge bribe but they did not! What makes this special is that these guys are hungry and not being paid salaries.

  • MadzibabaJoshua

    Lets hope the deceased did not die from Ebola,what with all that dripping blood flowing all over the tarmac.

  • yowe

    Throw the Americans muChikurubi

  • Marunda

    Let’s count the money and get going on spending. Agree with Tino, give them the body hatidi Ngozi. Ndege tombo pairetesa tisati tadzorera

  • Marunda

    Iwe matsotsi tinombobata, remember a few month ago takabata zvombo pa Gweru apo.

  • Isac Hunt

    the body sounds like it was a stow away who must have jumped into the wheels of the plane and died during the flight. Millions of rands in cash is not a lot in real money.
    The pilot would need to refuel the plane and pay in cash.Case closed.

    • Gandanga

      stowaway from German to Africa?

  • mwana wevhu

    Watawura difficult munetsi ndo zvayiyitiwa nemurume watete vako kubira vekurizeva mombe nekuno chera makuva achiba nezvitunha. Nekuti matanga nekuzvuru zvino vigwa vanhu zvakangoyererana.

  • zvimba

    Muno vanoskwera vabatwa. Security vano yita basa sebasa. Wish vabatiwa tombonzwa chakatora zvimbo

  • Mhofu Original

    Zim yatowana mari apa all the cash will be taken by the gvt

  • Cecil Roars

    Read News 24. The cargo belongs to the South African Reserve Bank. I am not sure about the dead body, if it was part ifbthe cargo.
    But do not get excited about the money yet in as much as the country is broke The Herald did not mention why the ambassador of S.A. went there. But the money will go to the owners and we keep the dead body.

  • omahn

    No story here. The Americans will claim it is diplomatic cargo end of story.

  • sis pee

    your sense of humour is something else. ndaseka


    Vatonyura zvose kusara kwamakororo ayo,mhondi,
    asi mari ayinda.
    gone yakatotanga kutorwa nevakatanga kuona ,iyo inongonzi ma Millions of rands asingataurwi kuti mariiii?

  • bhinikwa

    Dont trust Herald, they will say anything & twist any story to punish US. Gutter journalism

  • karombe

    i really enjoyed this discussion. vanhu havadi zvemangamanga ndazozviona

  • jack

    probably someone got stuck in the propellers!

  • watch out !

    watch out it might be the GUPTA’s money! then you will be dancing to same tune as Zuma soon!

  • dumb clown u r

    stop smoking drugs and talking rubbish, stupid person. where does the air force come in to this story? are you drunk or just dumb?

  • Bri

    What’s hilarious is that the company seems like a pathetic front for some covert operations. This wouldn’t be the first time the CIA has done this, opening up some random office in southern Florida. Also if you look at all the pictures, they photo-shopped the WGA logo onto the planes. They must operate all unmarked planes, even sketchier.

  • Cecil Roars

    You read with anger and that is why you lack comprehension.

    • CCTM10

      Cecil I also find your comment to be quite silly and unfair. You cannot impose your writing styles upon others. The story gave all the facts and the heading is accurate unless if you are saying that’s not a plane registered in the USA.

  • Cosmore

    How mid air would they toss a human it’s not a bus that you can open the door. Cabin pressure and all its not a helicopter me thinks

  • Gandanga

    If there is possibility that this is a case of a stowaway then its key to know whether the plane had any other stopovers between German and Harare or not. Usually stowaways are from Africa to Europe or America and not from Europe to Africa.

    Was there an argument, and then murder on the plane? Did someone want to get rid of a body before getting to South Africa? Why did South Africans rush to conclude that its a case of a stowaway before the investigations had even started?
    But again, why not just wait for the identity of the dead person. That is the silver bullet.

  • atpcliff

    Western Global is a privately owned US company. It is a crappy company, but nothing illegal. They stopped in Lagos for fuel. That is where they assume the stowaway got into the plane. Pilots report that the body was actually in the flap area, and fell out when they extended the flaps on the ramp.

    The airport that initially didn’t let them land….I don’t know why, but that airport didn’t know they were coming. As I posted earlier, the plane was scheduled to land in South Africa, but could not legally continue there, as Western Global didn’t contact their plane with the correct flight plan to continue to South Africa during the flight.

  • geoquip

    Magical Realism.