AMSTERDAM SCHIPHOL AIRPORT, NETHERLANDS – A stowaway was found near the nose wheel of a cargo plane that arrived at Schiphol Airport from Africa on Sunday, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Dutch Military Police) reports. Amazingly the man survived the freight flight with freezing temperatures at high altidude, but was suffering from hypothermia and was taken to hospital.
Ground personnel found the man during a check of the cargo plane at 11:00 AM local time, a spokesperson told Het Parool. The man was still breathing, so the Marechaussee, fire brigade and an ambulance were alarmed immediately. According to the newspaper an air ambulance helicopter was also on the scene. The man was able to speak in the ambulance on its way to the hospital.
It’s quite extraordinary for a stowaway to survive a flight in a wheel section. Temperatures of -50°C at an altitude of 33,000 ft (10,000 m) certainly do occur, although the circumstances differ per flight.
The man was probably found in a Cargolux Boeing 747-400F that departed from Johannesburg, South Africa via Nairobi, Kenya to Amsterdam Schiphol, where it landed at 10:21 AM local time. It’s not sure where the man climbed aboard the cargo plane, but it’s assumed that he boarded in the Kenyan capital.
The man’s age and nationality remain unclear. The Marechaussee is investigating the case.
Last year a stowaway was also found in the wheel section of a KLM Airbus at Schiphol. Unfortunately the man did not survive the flight from Lagos, Nigeria. Seven years ago, the Marechaussee found a body in the landing gear section of an Emirates cargo plane.
Head image: Jerry Taha
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