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June 11, 2010

Stowaway Survives Flight

Filed under: General — aerotowfeeq @ 5:21 pm

Experts are calling lucky a 20-year-old Romanian man who hid in the wheel well of a jet for a 90-minute flight from Vienna to London, and survived.

The man was reportedly going to London to look for work. According to several news reports, he snuck through a perimeter fence at the Vienna airport, and the climbed onto the undercarriage of a private Boeing 747 for the trip.

Schwechat police chief Leo Lauber told The Associated Press that the jet belonged to a high-ranking sheik from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and that there were no passengers onboard.

After landing at London’s Heathrow Airport, Lauber said the man fell out from under the plane and was arrested by police. He remains in custody, and there was no word on whether or not he sustained any injuries.

Britain has restrictions on the number of Romanians who can work there. An investigation into the incident is underway in both Vienna, where security was breeched, as well as in the U.K.

“Due to specific circumstances of this flight, he is lucky to have survived, because survival in these cases in quite rare,” Sidney Dekker, a professor of flight safety at the School of Aviation at Sweden’s Lund University, toldAP. “But on another level, this incident also illustrates the absurdities of security checks.”

The man may have survived because the aircraft flew lower than usual due to bad weather.

Other stowaways have not been so lucky. For instance, earlier this year a body was found inside the landing gear of a Delta plane that had flown from New York to Tokyo, the man dead from what was believed to be hypothermia.

Romanian authorities declined to reveal the man’s name.


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