Sky News Questioned By Ofcom After Wrongly Identifying A Man Who Fell From A Plane In London

Kenya Airways
A Metropolitan Police e-fit of the man who fell from the Kenya Airways flight, and his belongings. Metropolitan Police

EXCLUSIVE: Comcast-owned Sky News is being questioned by Ofcom after wrongly identifying the man who fell from a Kenya Airways flight as it came into land at Heathrow Airport in June.

The British media regulator is assessing the report, first published on November 12, in which Sky News said it had solved the mystery of the man who fell from the sky into the garden of a London home, narrowly missing a sunbather. It identified Nairobi airport cleaner Paul Manyasi as the so-called Kenya Airways stowaway.

But days after the report was published, the man pictured by Sky News told local news outlet Daily Nation that he was alive in a Kenyan prison. Cedric Shivonje said he was in the Kawangware region of Nairobi on June 30, the day the stowaway fell from the flight.

Sky pulled the story and issued a correction on its website last week. It said that Africa correspondent John Sparks corroborated his findings through interviews with people who said they were friends, relatives and colleagues of Manyasi, but Sky has now acknowledged it was misled.

“Sky News regrets that our reporting was founded on misleading information,” it said. Sky also apologized to Nairobi airport cleaning company, Colnet, for identifying the stowaway as one of its employees. “We do not have conclusive evidence to suggest the stowaway worked for the cleaning company,” Sky added.

Ofcom has received a complaint about the report and is now assessing the matter before deciding whether to launch a formal investigation. Its initial assessment usually involves requesting a copy of the relevant material and other background. “We are currently assessing this program,” an Ofcom spokesman said.

Sky declined to comment beyond a statement issued last week. “Sky News has built a reputation on accuracy and therefore when our reporting does not meet that standard it is important we fully acknowledge to our viewers when new information is uncovered,” a spokeswoman said.

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