Tuesday, April 20, 2021 4:43 pm
By Nehru Odeh
The dead body of a man was found inside the landing gear of a flight from Lagos to Amsterdam on Monday.
The man, whose identity has not been known is believed to have stowed away in the KLM flight, where he died from hypothermia.
The body was discovered at Amsterdam Schiphol shortly after the plane landed
A spokesperson for the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, one of two national police forces in the country said: “The man had holed up in the wheel arch of the plane. The low temperatures have presumably been fatal to him during the flight.”
The police further said that they were investigating the incident to confirm the man’s identity as well as the cause of death.
According to a report by Simple Flying it is likely that the flight, a 15-year old aircraft, with 30 business, 35 extra legroom economy and 178 economy seats was a regular five-weekly service form and operating lightly loaded.
The victim, who did not occupy any of the seats on board, managed to access the aircraft and hide in the wheel of the plane’s landing gear. He must have been subjected to extreme conditions during the flight which took almost seven hours as it transited across Africa and into Europe.
The plane cruised at approximately 37,000 feet, with temperatures in the region of minus 70 degrees F (-57 degrees C). Up there, the air must have been so thin that he couldn’t survive.
While many landing gear stowaway stories end in tragedy, some do not. In August 2013, a 13 year old Daniel Ihikhena evaded security at Benin City Airport, and survived the 45-minute Arik Air flight to Abuja, despite the plane reaching an altitude of 21,000 feet. However, the teenager was able to survive due to the short length of the flight.
In February this year, a 16-year-old boy was found clinging to the landing gear of a Turkish Airlines aircraft when it arrived at London Stansted. Though it wasn’t certain if the boy had travelled all the way from Kenya, it was clear that he had survived at least part of the journey in this manner.
Other stowaways have not been so lucky. In September 2012, Jose Matada, 26, from Mozambique died after falling from a Heathrow-bound flight from Angola. His body was found on the pavement of Portman Avenue in Mortlake, south-west London.
In August 2012 the body of a man was discovered in the landing gear bay of a British Airways Boeing 747 after a 6,000-mile (9,656km) flight from Cape Town to Heathrow.