LIFE & STYLE

List of people who hid under planes to get to foreign countries

People who are desperate to get to Europe and North America have fallen victim to hiding under planes (undercarriage) in order to get to those countries unnoticed.

The recent incident of the stowaway male who dropped from the Kenya Airways plane (KQ 100) in London, is just one case.

In June 2015, two men clung into a British Airways flight at Johannesburg. One was found in Heathrow in critical condition whereas the other one was found dead on an office rooftop in Richmond.

In August 2012 another South African man was found dead in Heathrow on the undercarriage of a plane from Cape town.

An aeroplane undercarriage.
| Source: Getty Images |

Then in September 2012, the body of 26-year-old Jose Matada was found on Mortlake, West London. Matada, who was from Mozambique, had dropped from a plane from Angola.

In June 2010, a stowaway victim, surprisingly survived. The victim, a 20-year-old from Vienna was found inside a wheel bay when the plane landed at Heathrow Airport. Reports state that the only reason he survived was because the plane didn’t go above 25,000 ft due to bad weather.

Characteristics of stowaway victims

BBC UK reported that out of the stowaway victims recorded, only one in four victims survived the journey. Those who survived also traveled short distances.

Most people who have hidden under planes so as to get into a foreign country are men from developing countries who want to get to Europe and North America.

Risks of hiding in the undercarriage of a plane

Though it seems like the easiest way to access a foreign country illegally, it is extremely risky.

Temperatures can get to as low as -63 degrees celcius which can lead to hypothermia.

When the plane goes to extreme heights such as 18,000 ft, oxygen levels decrease. This can lead to weakness, tremors, light-headedness and eyesight problems.

One can also be crushed by the landing gear when it’s drawn back in. The latter could cause lose of hearing or a build-up of acid in body fluids which can eventually lead to a coma or death.

The worst case is when the compartment doors open when the plane is a couple of thousands away from landing. A stowaway can fall and die.

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