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29th Nov 2021

Stowaway emerges from wheels of plane after hours at 33,000ft

Danny Jones

Stowaway removed from plane's landing gear

You don’t go to such extraordinary lengths unless you have to

A stowaway managed to hide in a plane’s landing gear for hours as an American Airways aircraft landed back in the US on Saturday November 27.

The as-yet-unidentified man is believed to be a 26-year-old Guatemalan who fled the Central American country and was discovered by the ground crew after the plane touched down in Miami, Florida.

As you can see in the video below, airport staff attend to the clearly dazed and disoriented man, offering him water after an exhausting flight that lasted approximately two and a half hours.

While most immigrants from South and Central America attempt to enter the United States via the land border, this man was clearly so desperate that he hid inside the confined and precarious space of the plane’s landing gear compartment.

Not only did he manage to survive the fluctuating temperatures – which likely would have gone from hot to cold very quickly during different stages of the flight – Sky News, NBC‘s affiliate journalist and former pilot Willard Shepard, said that temperatures in the gear dropped by about 38C, adding that the man would have been “subjected to sub-zero temperatures.”

Moreover, he also survived the touchdown procedure while the panel that contains the landing gear was open – circumstances that are beyond dangerous and could have resulted in his death.

Covered initially by local news station WTVJ, the US Customs and Border Protection issued a statement saying that officers arrested the man attempting to evade detection in the landing gear compartment on Saturday morning, adding that “the individual was evaluated by emergency medical services and taken to a hospital for medical assessment”.

As The Guardian reports, the incident is still under investigation but it is likely the man will be deported almost immediately after he is released from the hospital. Whether his entry was illegal or not, you can’t help but wonder the story behind what drove him to go to such extraordinary lengths.

PoliticsJOE recently visited Calais, where around 300 people fleeing countries like Afghanistan and Iraq are risking their lives to sail across the channel. Find out more via the clip below:

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