A man miraculously survived an overnight flight inside the nose gear of a cargo plane that landed in Amsterdam on Sunday morning after a 12-hour flight from South Africa. It is incredibly rare for stowaways to survive the perilous conditions of an unheated and oxygen-deprived landing gear, especially after such a long flight.
The Royal Dutch military police said the “man is doing well under the circumstances”. He was transported to the hospital but there has been no further update on his condition.
A spokesperson for the police said the man was found shortly after the Cargolux operated Boeing 747 freighter aircraft landed at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport. He was said to be very cold when found but his temperature quickly rose.
South African airports are considered to be at high risk of stowaway attempts and although airlines are required to take extra precautions, they are not always successful.
In 2019, the dead body of a stowaway fell from the landing gear of a jet on final approach to Heathrow Airport. The body reportedly fell into the garden of a South London home, narrowly missing a sunbathing resident who was laying just three feet away from where the body fell.
The stowaway had climbed into the landing gear of a Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi and would have been exposed to temperatures of -60C (-76F).
And in 2015, a man fell from a British Airways plane onto the roof of an office block in Richmond, West London after an 11-hour flight from Johannesburg. The man was decapitated in the fall and was found by police in an air conditioning unit on the roof.
A second man was found unconscious still in the undercarriage of the plane but died several months later from injuries sustained during the flight.
But last November, a Guatemalan stowaway survived a more than two-hour flight inside the landing gear of an American Airlines operated Boeing 737-800 from Guatemala City to Miami on Saturday.
The 26-year-old stowaway was left dazed and disorientated by the experience and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. After being given the all-clear, he was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
Lying, not laying (sic) there.
love you site. read it daily. i’m a grammar guru.
“they are not ~~alwasy~~ successful.”
Many thanks! My Grammarly turned itself off.