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Man who fell from London skies: Sky News deletes ‘scoop’

By Hillary Orinde | November 21st 2019
The man identified as Paul Manyasi by Sky News. It has emerged he is called Cedrick. [Courtesy, Sky News]

British broadcaster Sky News has deleted from its website the investigative piece that identified the man who fell out a Kenya Airways plane flying over London on June 30 as Paul Manyasi.

The report said the body of a man who plunged into the compound of a home along Offerton Road in South London creating a mini crater was that of Paul Manyasi, 29, who worked as a cleaner at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.

Authored by Sky News Africa Correspondent John Sparks, the 2731-word story was titled "Plane stowaway: Who was Kenyan man who fell from the sky".

When you click on the story’s initial link, https://news.sky.com/story/who-was-the-man-who-fell-from-the-sky-11859868, it notifies you that the page has not been found.

“We're sorry. The page you are looking for cannot be found. You may have followed a broken or outdated link, or there may be an error on our site,” readers are told.

A follow-up story titled, Stowaway: Kenya authorities dispute identity of man who fell from the plane has also been pulled down from the website.

On YouTube, the 15-minutes long story has also been retracted leaving only a 4-minute long piece uploaded four months ago.

John Spark has, however, not retracted his tweet of the story.

Standard Digital has reached out to him for comment on why his story was deleted from the website. He has not responded.

The report has been the subject of mixed reactions since its release on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, with information contradicting Sky News assertion that the man was Manyasi.

First, it was the family of the alleged stowaway that denied the report.

Isaac Beti, who had been identified in the story as Isaac Manyasi, Paul’s father, said he was quoted out of context.

Isaac, who lives with his family in Makhabuye village, Malava Sub-County, Kakamega denied knowing anyone by the name Paul Manyasi, saying his son was called Cedric Shivonje.

They had spoken since 2017 when they fell-out over school fees, he said.

“I still don’t believe that my son is dead or missing. I know him very well. A person can go for years without communicating or being in touch with his family, but that does not mean he is dead,” the father of five told Standard Digital in a November 13 interview.

Isaac Beti (second left), his wife Janet and four children at their home at Makhwabuye village in Malava Sub-county. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

On the same day, the family revealed that it believed their son was in remand over a defilement case.

The denial was backed-up by that of Kenya Airports Authority, the agency responsible for all public airports and Colnet, the cleaning company Manyasi was reported to have worked for.

A day later on Wednesday, The Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti confirmed to a local daily that Cedric Shivonje was at Industrial Area Remand Prison, Nairobi.

Kenya Prisons Service spokesman Dixon Mwakazi also confirmed that Shivonje was at the Nairobi Medium Prison after failing to raise Sh200,000 bail.

Shivonje was allegedly arrested in a defilement case as a Hillary Misikho and was a teacher at a primary school in Kawangware, Nairobi.

Meanwhile, a local daily reports that MJM Law has threatened to sue Sky News on instructions from Shivonje for defamation.

The stowaway's body that fell from the UK skies is still being held at a London mortuary. No family has claimed it.

London Metropolitan Police says his death is not being treated as suspicious and an inquest will be held after they close investigations.

He was likely to have been exposed to temperatures as low as -63C during the flight, potentially bringing on hypothermia.

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