Aviation News, Headlines & Alerts
Category: <span>stowaway</span>

How to Freeze, Suffocate, or Brain Damage Yourself; Or Terror at 38,000 Feet

Everyone following Aviation News by now has already heard of the sixteen-year-old boy who rode stowaway in the wheel well of a 767 from California to Kahului Airport in Maui Hawaii, surviving impossible conditions of 38,000 feet. Surviving outside of a plane is nothing short of a miracle. Conditions outside of a plane in flight are sub-human, making suffocation a certainty; and if one somehow were to manage the lack of air, then the trick would be surviving freezing conditions and decompression sickness. Hypoxia is almost a certainty at -80 degrees Fahrenheit, with no air.

Most people who attempt such a feat end up frozen solid, or fall off. Plus, should I not mention that an emotional sixteen year old who ran away from home should not be able to breach airport security;

Should not be able to survive the trip;and after he did, the story

… should not be publicized in such a way that future idiots be inspired to follow in his idiocy. Newscasters may as well have posted an invitation to every idiot, prankster, and t-word in town.

So all you stupids inspired to save yourself the cost of a plane ticket, if you are inspired to sneak on to a wheel well because you have a winter coat, and think you’re invincible, the truth is that this is how idiots die.

In George’s Point of View

Of course, the story is the breach of security not that the kid survived. Obviously in a real-life kind of way, it’s good the boy survived. Obviously in a real-life kind of way it is horrible and stupid that his survival is now going to be an idiot’s guide. But now let’s talk about what happened here.

Security failed so many times and so many ways that it boggles the mind. The perimeter of the airport should not have been breached; the security of the plane should not have been breached; and on arrival, the boy should immediately have been discovered. At least the ground crew did eventually find the boy “wandering the tarmac, dazed and confused.” But then the news got ahold of the story and made it global. Good job, news people.

In an interview at San Jose airport the spokesperson there said that no security is 100 percent fool proof.

I disagree. Airport security, access to planes, especially those planes ready to board passengers and take off must be fool-proof.

There are just too many fools out there.

TSA security checks at airport are tedious and essential. Security cannot afford to have one single gun or nut job to get through their security wall, not a single one.

Someone in California PLUS someone in Hawaii failed to do their job. Multiple someones. Aren’t security checks deliberately redundant? Surely someone at Hawaiian Airlines failed in a last-minute maintenance and/or security walk-around.

I do find it ludicrous that all of these security experts and specialists interviewed for news programs about this security breach, industry professionals like the grounds operations coordinator at O’Hare, essentially post detailed “how to” instructions to climbing inside a wheel well.

This is a wake-up call to security teams to plug the holes in their process, just as it is a wake—up call for idiots looking to die at 38,000 feet. Let’s hope the next one who tries this blunders into a security hole that has been filled with a smart security operative with some inescapable handcuffs in his pocket. Then let’s see how the news covers it.

Dulles Crew Finds Dead Stowaway

A South African Airways Airbus A340 at Dulles International Airport flew from Johannesburg, South Africa to Dakar, Senegal to Virginia with an extra passenger. Crew discovered the body in the wheel well on Thursday. FBI, U.S. customs, border patrol, fire and rescue crews and Dulles police responded to the scene. Fairfax County Medical Examiner’s Office has custody of the body.

See the Videos


What: Egyptair Airbus A320-200 en route from Cairo to Kuwait
Where: Egypt
When: Dec 3, 2012
Who: 90 aboard
Why: We have avoided this report for as long as possible, but finally decided to get it out of the way, since our mailboxes and emails are FULL of reports of:
“Snake on a plane forces emergency landing”
“Cobra Forces EgyptAir Flight to Make Emergency Landing”
“Flight Crew Finds reptile”
“Real Life Snake on a plane”
“Egyptian Cobra Bites Akram Abdul Latfi, Egypt Air Passenger”
“Cobra upgraded to First Class on Flight**”

Here’s the story: Akram Abdul Latif who was aboard this Egyptair flight was bitten by a snake. Actual snake on a plane, not the terrible movie. The Jordan Times says the snake was a cobra and that Latif owns a reptile shop where he was taking it. The snake had gotten out and the pet shop owner was bitten in the hand while trying to return the snake to the carry-on (as so many are theoretically and realistically bitten while trying to get anything back in the bag.)

The flight was diverted to Al Bahr Al Ahmar where first aid was administered to the man, and apparently none to the snake, who died. Actually, the snake did not die; it apparently was with Latif when he was refusing medical treatment. Some of the reports infer Latif was allowed to bring the snake to his shop in Kuwait. Without a crystal ball, I can’t say whether or not reports will be full of “Kuwait Reptile Store Owner Jailed for Smuggling” but according to “Newsfix” the cobra was corralled and confiscated by the cops. No one indicates if the snake was returned to Latif, or if a snake license, fine or a “snake coralling fee” was levied.

One can not help but picture the plane landing, a bouncer tossing Latif, his bag and beast out on their respective keisters*, the plane closing up and zipping down the runway before Latif can get back on.

* For the sake of the paragraph, we are endowing both the snake and the bag with honorary keisters, as they are not provided their own by nature.
** Honors for the best title of an article about the snake on a plane
*** The snake photo is clipped from the youtube video
**** No snakes were harmed in the writing of this article
*****[insert your own] Etc.

Stowaway Found in Arik Air Wheel Well

What: Arik Air Airbus A340-542 en route from London to Lagos
Where: Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport
When: Oct 26, 2012
Who: 1 fatality
Why: The body of a man was discovered in the wheel well of an Arik Air Airbus after a flight from London to Lagos. The body had no identification. There is no indication how long the body remained there, nor where it came from.

According to officials the body was discovered “during a check on the aircraft panel as it was being prepared for another flight and that the undercarriage compartment of the Airbus A340-500 is big enough to accommodate a person, besides the space for the tires.”

Security at Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport is reputed to be lax, and authorities have apparently been ineffective in eliminating illicit activities.

BA Stowaway Dies in Landing Gear Bay

What: British Airways Boeing 747-400 en route from Cape Town to London
Where: London
When: Aug 23rd 2012
Who: 1 fatality
Why: It has not been released whether the stowaway found in the plane’s landing gear bay died from exposure or lack of oxygen. Temperatures at 30,000 feet are between -40 and -50ºC. The body was found by crew at Heathrow and is presumed to be the trespasser who evaded pursuers in the Cape Town International Airport. Police were called at 6.25am when the body was found.

11 Year-old Stowaway

What: jet2.com Boeing 737-300 en route from Manchester to Rome (and back)
When: Jul 24, 2012
Who: 1
Why: 11-year-old Liam Corcoran managed to fly to Rome on his own without a passport or a boarding pass, and his action has instigated a probe of procedures at Manchester airport.

Corcoran ran away from his mother, went through full security screening, and boarded the flight while mingling with a family and was discovered while en route. He discussed with other passengers how he was running away. It was other passengers who notified the crew who notified the Captain who called his worried family. He stayed on the plane for the return flight to Manchester, and was returned safely to his family.

A number of airport and Jet2 employees have been suspended as a result of the security breach. The breach has launched several high-level investigations.

See Video below

Stowaway Threatens Safety Rating

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Ken Iwelumo – Global Aviation Images

What: Arik Air Airbus A330-200 en route from Johannesburg South Africa to Lagos Nigeria
Where: Lagos
When: Sep 20th 2010
Who: 1 stowaway
Why: The body of a young Nigerian man was found in the wheelwell. How the stowaway accessed the airport and the aircraft is a mystery. There is inadequate oxygen in the compartment to survive. Due to the quick turnaround there, the body was not discovered in Johannesburg.

The carrier fears the incident will cause the airline to lose its recent Category 1 safety status US rating.

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