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The discovery of a potential stowaway's body near London's Heathrow Airport is a grim reminder that people are still able to sneak onto planes despite improved airport security.

"This is certainly not by any stretch of the imagination the first time it's happened nor will it be the last time it's happened," says Cass Howell, associate dean at the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona campus.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, from 1996 to August 2012, there were 95 attempted stowaways on 84 flights around the world.

Most of those people sneaked into the wheel well of the aircraft. The FAA says 75.8% of those attempts resulted in deaths.

Howell says the main cause of death for such stowaways is crushing. "Even though it may look like a big compartment, when the wheels pull up, they'll crush anything," he says. "They don't yield to anyone."

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Police in London are trying to determine the identity of the man who was found in the Mortlake neighborhood of London, about 10 miles from Heathrow, on Sept. 9. The neighborhood lies in the path of approaching planes. Police say they believe the man might have sneaked into the landing gear bay of a plane that originated from Africa and fallen out when the bay opened during the plane's descent.

Police believe the man died before he fell out of the plane.

Howell says if the wheels didn't crush him then hypoxia could have been another likely cause of death. The probability of death goes up when the plane climbs above 25,000 feet, he says.

If that didn't kill him, the cold might have. It's typically 30 degrees below zero in that environment, Howell says.

"No matter how you cut it, it's not a happy outcome," he says.

Howell says the typical stowaway is a male from a third world country.

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London Police say the man was found with money from the African country of Angola. They say he was an African of slight build between the ages of 20 and 30. He was wearing jeans, white sneakers and a gray sweatshirt. He had a tattoo on his left upper arm of the letters "Z'' and "G'' with a horizontal line through the "Z''.

A post mortem conducted two days after the body was found listed the cause of death as "multiple injuries."

Howell says the incident raises concerns about airport security. "He could have put something in the wheel well rather than himself," he says.

The good news is that stowaways are not as common as they used to be, says Alan Bender, professor of aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Even in the last few years, the number of stowaways has gone down from six in 2010 to two in 2011, according to the FAA.

"It happened rather regularly in bygone days--20 or more years ago--when air fares were quite high and airport and airline security was relatively lax," Bender says. "I believe it is much less common today."

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