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The Other Falling Man

An unidentified stowaway who fell from a plane is still haunting--even dividing--the quiet west London neighborhood he landed in.

by Brian Anderson
Dec 10 2012, 9:57pm

When he slammed down on Portman Avenue early on a Sunday morning last September, the thud was loud enough to stir awake some residents in London's otherwise tranquil Mortlake neighborhood.

At daybreak, when the first passers by happened upon his crumpled frame, it was presumed, at first, that the man had been brutally murdered--an oddity for Mortlake, a district "generally free of crime and congestion," according to the Associated Press. Hours later, to the horror and general bum-out of the community at large, it was ruled that the mystery man, who'd stowed himself away on a passenger plane, had actually plummeted to the ground below when the plane's landing gear accidentally lowered. Three months later, his identity remains unknown. Mortlake, meanwhile, remains traumatized, suspended in a state of shock and sadness over the almost unfathomably grisly, out-of-clear-blue-sky incident.

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