Airport workers found the body of a boy in the nose-wheel section of an airliner that arrived Sunday morning from Nairobi, Kenya.
The child suffered crush injuries, apparently caused by the hydraulic mechanism of the British Airways Boeing 747, which flew nonstop to London’s Gatwick Airport, the national news agency Press Association reported.
He appeared to be between 10 and 14 years old, police said.
Sussex police used a helicopter to search the plane’s landing approach area to ensure that no one else had been with the boy and fallen out.
Police said they were not treating the death as suspicious.
“This was a tragic loss of a young life and one can only guess at what spurred him into doing something so dangerous,” police Inspector Peter Cooper said.