‘We are sorry’ - Sky News apologises for Kenya stowaway story
By Brian Ukaya
| November 21st 2019
British broadcaster Sky News has apologised for running an investigative story on a stowaway who fell from a Kenya Airways plane in London.
Through a statement shared on the UK media outlet’s website, Sky News has expressed regret in its reporting of the story that pointed out to a man of Kenyan origin as the said stowaway.
“Sky News regrets that our reporting was founded on misleading information. The Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority has previously acknowledged that it was possible that the stowaway was an airport employee,” read part of the statement.
The media outlet further stated: “However, we no longer have conclusive evidence that he worked for the cleaning company Colnet and we apologise to Colnet for suggesting the stowaway was one of their employees.”
Early today on Sky News deleted the investigative piece from its website.
The investigative piece had identified the man who fell out a Kenya Airways plane flying over London on June 30 as Paul Manyasi.
The investigative piece had gone further to explain how the body of the said “Paul Manyasi” had plunged into the compound of a home along Offerton Road in South London creating a mini crater.
According to the Sky News story, Paul Manyasi had been working as a cleaner at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.
The story had been authored by Sky News Africa Correspondent John Sparks.
John Spark has, however, not retracted his tweets of the story.
Standard Digital has however tried reach out to him for comment on why his story was deleted from the website but he has not responded.
The Stowaway story 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.
But they had not spoken since 2017 when they fell-out over school fees.
“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.
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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