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Man Manages to Sneak Onboard British Airways Flight to New York Without a Boarding Pass or Passport and is Only Discovered After Arrival

Man Manages to Sneak Onboard British Airways Flight to New York Without a Boarding Pass or Passport and is Only Discovered After Arrival

a plane taking off from a runway

A man remains on the run after he managed to sneak undetected onto a British Airways flight from London Heathrow Airport to New York JFK in what has been described as a ‘humiliating’ breach of security for the West London airport.

Craig Sturt has been charged with a slew of aviation offences, including boarding an aircraft without permission, being unlawfully airside and obtaining services by deception, but the homeless suspect skipped bail last month, and police still don’t know his whereabouts.

Sources told British newspaper The Sun that Sturt managed to sneak onboard the British Airways Boeing 777 on December 23, 2023, after tailgating other passengers through the various security measures that are meant to stop stowaways.

Although The Sun has reported the incident as a ‘jaw-dropping security lapse’, it’s understood that Sturt would have been subjected to the standard security screening processes, which are notoriously stringent at Heathrow Airport.

Sturt was, however, allowed to get airside without a boarding pass before he boarded a bus to the waiting aircraft, where he mingled amongst throngs of other passengers keen to get to New York in time for Christmas.

Sources claim the flight was actually fully booked, so it should have been immediately obvious that Sturt wasn’t meant to be onboard, but several passengers missed the flight with minutes to spare, meaning that some seats remained unoccupied.

None of the cabin crew realised Sturt shouldn’t have been onboard the aircraft and it was only when he attempted to enter the United States that Customs and Border Protection officers realised he was a stowaway.

It doesn’t appear that Sturt was charged with any crimes in the US, but he was deported back to the UK on a special charter flight, which arrived on Christmas Eve. Sturt was immediately arrested and subsequently charged, but he has since failed to turn up at court, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Sources claim Sturt was initially taken to a psychiatric hospital on his arrival back into the UK, and British police have advised the public not to approach him if they spot him in public.

British media report that Home Secretary James Cleverly has demanded answers over how Sturt managed to smuggle himself onboard a British Airways flight in the first place.

Not that these types of incidents are unheard of.

Last November, a Russian man managed to sneak onboard a SAS Airlines flight from Copenhagen to Los Angeles in very similar circumstances. In that case, the man even came to the notice of flight attendants after he attempted to help himself to their food.

Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava was only discovered when he presented himself to CBP officers, claiming that he had left his passport onboard the aircraft. It transpired that there was no record of Ochigava on CBP’s systems, and he was promptly arrested.

Unlike Sturt, the Russian suspect was prosecuted in the United States and found guilty of being a stowaway. Ochigava faced a maximum jail sentence of four years but was sentenced to time served last week.

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