Stowaway Found on Plane May Have Been in Air for 11 Hours

Man discovered in Amsterdam survived flight that originated in South Africa
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2022 7:31 AM CST
Stowaway's Survival After 11-Hour Flight 'Remarkable'
A Cargolux plane is seen on the tarmac after landing in Payerne, Switzerland, on Jan. 5, 2015.   (AP Photo/Keystone,Laurent Gillieron)

(Newser) – A cargo flight that originated in South Africa had a surprise waiting on board when it finally landed in Amsterdam: a guy hidden in the plane's wheel section, still alive after what may have been 11 hours in the air, per ABC News. "The man was found alive in the nose wheel section of the plane and was taken to hospital in ... stable condition," a Dutch Royal Military Police spokeswoman told AFP, adding it was "remarkable" that he'd lived through the ordeal. The BBC notes it's not common for stowaways to make it through long flights alive due to the cold temps and low oxygen at high altitudes.

CNN reports that the airport crew at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport initially caught sight of the man, believed to be between 16 and 35 years old, on the Cargolux plane and flagged down authorities. When cops and first responders got there, the man was found to be alive but with a low body temperature. Dutch media reports he was revived at the scene and able to respond to simple questions by the time the ambulance arrived to transport him to the hospital.

Although the flight from Johannesburg to Amsterdam typically takes about 11 hours, a police rep says it's not clear if the man stashed himself in the plane while it was on the tarmac in South Africa or during a stopover in Nairobi. The police rep tells CNN that once he's recuperated from his journey, the government will determine if the man was trying to seek asylum. His nationality wasn't reported. (Read more stowaway stories.)

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