Stowaway found barely alive in landing gear of Algeria flight to Paris

Stowaway found barely alive in landing gear of Algeria flight to Paris
Stowaway found barely alive in landing gear of Algeria flight to Paris

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The man was found during technical checks after the Air Algerie flight from Oran, Algeria, landed at Paris’s Orly airport in mid-morning, prosecutors told AFP. — AFP file pic

PARIS, Dec 29 — A man was discovered yesterday hidden in the landing gear compartment of a commercial aircraft that flew into Paris from Algeria with severe hypothermia but alive, French authorities said.

The man, believed to be in his 20s, was found during technical checks after the Air Algerie flight from Oran, Algeria, landed at Paris’s Orly airport in mid-morning, prosecutors told AFP.

He had no ID on him, and was taken to hospital in serious condition, they said.

An airport source earlier reported that the man “was alive but in a life-threatening condition because of severe hypothermia”.

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Commercial aircraft cruise at 30,000 to 40,000 feet altitude where temperatures typically drop to around -50 degrees Celsius (-58F), and a lack of oxygen makes survival unlikely for anyone travelling in a landing gear compartment which is neither heated nor pressurised.

According to US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data cited in media, 132 people — known in the industry as wheel-well stowaways — tried to travel in the landing gear compartments of commercial aircraft between 1947 and 2021.

In April of this year, the body of a man was discovered in the landing gear of an aircraft in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport that had flown in from Toronto, but previously took off from Nigeria.

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Four months earlier, two passengers were found dead on arrival in the landing gear storage space of a flight between Santiago de Chile and Bogota.

In July 2019, the frozen body of a man fell into a garden in a London suburb, believed to have been in the landing gear compartment of a Kenya Airways plane approaching Heathrow airport.

The mortality rate for people attempting to travel this way is 77 per cent, according to the FAA figures. — AFP

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