HARARE, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwean aviation authorities impounded a U.S.-registered cargo jet, a senior official said Monday, after a dead body later believed to be a stowaway and millions of South African rand were found on board.
The Herald, a state-run newspaper, reported that the MD-11 trijet was traveling from Germany to South Africa "with millions of rands." At today's exchange rate, 1 million rand is worth $62,500.
Authorities here learned the money belonged to the South Africa Reserve Bank. Police planned to issue a statement later Monday.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe general manager David Chawota said the plane had landed in Harare for refueling. He said the jet, registered with Western Global Airlines, was impounded at Harare International Airport on Sunday. A web site says Western Global Airlines is based in Estero, Florida.
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 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.