List of wheel-well stowaway flights
This page lists known flights with stowaways, who for various reasons traveled inside the wheel well (landing gear compartment, also known as wheel bay). As of January 2014, there were 103 such attempts on 92 flights recorded by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration since 1947, 23.3% of which were successful. In at least one instance, on July 31, 2013, a cat survived a flight from Athens to Zürich in the front undercarriage of an Airbus A321.
A wheel-well stowaway typically faces two life-threatening conditions during flight: hypoxia and hypothermia. Physiological threats for a stowaway are minimal at altitudes to 2,440 m (8,000 ft), but at higher altitudes reduced atmospheric pressure and partial pressure of oxygen may exert influence. At all cruising altitudes of jet aircraft, the partial pressure of oxygen in a wheel well is below that required to support brain consciousness. At altitudes above 6,100 m (20,000 ft) stowaways may also develop decompression sickness and nitrogen gas embolism. But as a wheel-well stowaway is carried to lower altitudes, a gradual rewarming and reoxygenation occur.
|August 7, 1946||Bas Wie, 12||Kupang–Darwin||Douglas DC-3||Survived, naturalised in Australia in 1958 and married|
|August 5, 1947||Male, 30||Lisbon–Natal||Douglas DC-3||Survived|
|September 28, 1966||Male, 17||Bogotá–Mexico City||Colombian jet airliner||Survived at 34,000 ft|
|April 19, 1966||Unknown youth, 20/21||Orly–Morocco||Air France Sud Aviation Caravelle||Died (froze)|
|June 4, 1969||Armando Socarras Ramirez, 17, Jorge Perez Blanco, 16||Havana–Madrid
(Iberia Flight 904)
|Douglas DC-8||Ramirez survived, Blanco died|
|July 26, 1969||Male, 17 and a second unknown||Havana–Madrid||Douglas DC-8||One survived, second fell to death|
|June 21, 1970||Male, 13||Lyon–Abidjan||Douglas DC-8||Died (fell at Abidjan when landing gear lowered)|
|February 24, 1970||Keith Sapsford, 14||Sydney–Tokyo||Boeing 707||Fell from 200 ft on takeoff|
|April 14, 1972||Male, 18||San Diego–New York City||Boeing 707||Died (froze)|
|March 23, 1975||Unknown youth||Bogotá–Miami||Boeing 707||Died (fell)|
|November 14, 1986||Male, 35||Panama–Miami||Boeing 707||Survived at 39,000 ft|
|February 19, 1990||2 men from Trinidad||Trinidad–Toronto||BWIA West Indies Airways Lockheed L1011||Both survived 5 hour flight|
|June 4, 1993||Male, 13||Bogotá–Miami||Douglas DC-8||Survived at 35,000 ft, but frosted|
|August 4, 1993||Male, 19||Bogotá–New York City||Boeing 747||Died|
|1995||Unknown migrant worker||To Shanghai||Boeing 747||Died (froze and fell during landing at Pudong International Airport)|
|August 2, 1996||Two Mongolian boys, about 9 and 12||Ulan Bator–Kadena Air Base||U.S. Air Force Lockheed C-141B||One survived, the other one about 12 years old died|
|October 14, 1996||Pardeep Saini, 22, Vijay Saini, 19||New Delhi–London||Boeing 747||Pardeep survived in the nose wheel well at 35,000 ft, Vijay died|
|March 22, 1997||Male, adolescent||Nairobi–London||Boeing 747||Died|
|1998||Trevor Jacobs, 30||Antigua–Trinidad||McDonnell Douglas MD-80||Died (Trevor Jacobs was wanted on several criminal charges, including kidnapping)|
|February 7, 1998||Unknown male||Baku–London
(British Airways Flight 2028)
|Boeing 767||Died, body discovered upon arrival to Gatwick Airport on February 8|
|July 28, 1998||Chinese male, 23||Shanghai–Tokyo||Boeing 747||Survived, but hospitalized in critical condition|
|September 14, 1998||Emilio Dominguez, 23||San Pedro Sula–Miami
(Iberia Flight 6130)
|McDonnell Douglas DC-9||Survived at 33,000 ft, traveled seeking work, but was returned to Honduras|
|July 28, 1999||Yaguine Koita and Fodé Tounkara||Conakry–Brussels
(Sabena Flight 520)
|Airbus A330||Both died (froze)|
|August 4, 2000||Fidel Maruhi, 24||Papeete–Los Angeles–Paris
(Air France Flight 71)
|Boeing 747-400||Survived at 38,000 ft. Discovered during a refueling stopover in Los Angeles, Maruhi later told, that the main motive behind his travel to France was to "shake hands" with Zinedine Zidane.|
|June 2001||Mohammed Ayaz, 21||Muharraq–London||Boeing 777||Died (traveled to London due to job hardships in Pakistan and Bahrain)|
|August 7, 2001||Unknown male||London–New York City
(American Airlines Flight 131)
|Boeing 777||Died (fell from 1,500 ft on approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport)|
|September, 2001||Mikhail Semenyaga, 24||Perm–Yekaterinburg–Frankfurt||Died|
|December 24, 2001||Alberto Rodriguez, 15, Maikel Almira, 16||Havana–London||Boeing 777||Both died (planned hiding on a flight to Miami)|
|July 2002||Cameroonian male, 34||Rio de Janeiro–Paris
(Air France flight)
|December, 2002||Victor Alvarez Molina, 24||Havana–Montreal||McDonnell Douglas DC-10||Survived, received a refugee status in Canada|
|December 5, 2002||Two boys, 12 and 14||Accra–London||McDonnell Douglas DC-10||Both died|
|January 11, 2003||Mariano Alexis Herrera-Ba, Punta Cana International Airport technician||Punta Cana–Toronto||Airbus A320||Died|
|January 23, 2003||Two unidentified men||Paris–Shanghai
(Air France Flight 112)
|Boeing 777||Both died (fell on approach to Pudong International Airport)|
|February 25, 2003||Unknown male||Mali or Gabon–Paris?||Died (fell near Paris)|
|March 25, 2003||Unknown male, 19||To Frankfurt||Died|
|December 24, 2003||Unknown male, about 25||Montego Bay–New York City||Died|
|December 30, 2003||Unknown male, 30s||Lagos–London–New York City
(British Airways Flight 117)
|Boeing 747||Died (body found upon arrival to John F. Kennedy International Airport)|
|July 21, 2004||Unknown male, 20||Dominican Republic–Düsseldorf||Died (froze)|
|October 22, 2004||Unknown male, 20s||Miami–Detroit||Died|
|November 11, 2004||Liang Kailong, 14, Su Qing, 13||Kunming–Chongqing||Airbus A320||Liang survived, Su died (fell shortly after takeoff)|
|November 16, 2004||Unknown||Mali–Paris||Died|
|November 30, 2004||Unknown male||Died (fell, body found in Louvain)|
|May 25, 2005||Unknown boy, about 10||Dunhuang–Lanzhou||Airbus A320||Died|
|June 7, 2005||Unknown||Johannesburg–Dakar–New York City (South African Airways Flight 203)||Died (crushed on approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport)|
|January 12, 2007||Male||Johannesburg–Dakar–Atlanta
(Delta Air Lines Flight 35)
|Boeing 767||Died (frozen and crushed)|
|January 15, 2007||Unidentified||Banjul–Dakar–Brussels||Died|
|January 28, 2007||Samuel Peter Benjamin, 17||Singapore–Vancouver–Hong Kong–Cape Town–London–Los Angeles||Boeing 747||Died in the front wheel well, presumably after hitching the aircraft in his hometown Cape Town on January 22, body discovered in Los Angeles|
|July 19, 2007||Asian, 50s||Shanghai–San Francisco||Boeing 747||Died (in the nose gear wheel well)|
|September 21, 2007||Andrey Shcherbakov, 15||Perm–Moscow||Boeing 737||Survived, but suffered severe frostbite|
|October 12, 2007||Osama R.M. Shublaq, Palestinian||Kuala Lumpur–Singapore
(Singapore Airlines Flight 119)
|October 21, 2007||Ilgar Ashumov, 15||Baku–Moscow||Died on approach to Domodedovo International Airport, body found 12 km from the airport|
|August 9, 2009||Filipp Yurchenko, 19||Irkutsk–Khabarovsk–Vladivostok
(Vladivostok Avia Flight 486)
|February 7, 2010||Unknown male||New York City–Narita
(Delta Air Lines Flight 59)
|February 18, 2010||Unknown Dominican male||Santo Domingo–Miami||Boeing 767||Died (fell during takeoff)|
|March 2010||Okechukwu Okeke, Nigerian||Lagos to the United States
(Delta Air Lines flight)
|Boeing 777||Died in the nose wheel well|
|April 2010||Unknown African male||To Zürich||Died (fell after landing gear was lowered on approach to Zürich, body found in Weisslingen)|
|June 6, 2010||Romanian male, 20||Vienna–London||Boeing 747||Survived|
|July 9, 2010||Unknown male||Beirut–Riyadh||Died|
|September 19, 2010||Nigerian national||Johannesburg–Lagos
(Arik Air flight)
|November 2, 2010||Male, 16||Yerbogachen–Kirensk||Antonov An-24||Survived, but planned to reach Irkutsk|
|November 15, 2010||Delvonte Tisdale, 16||Charlotte–Boston
(US Airways Flight 1776)
|Boeing 737||Died (possible fatal injury inside wheel well from landing gear, fell on approach to Boston)|
|July 13, 2011||Adonis G.B., 23||Havana–Madrid||Died|
|July 26, 2012||Unidentified male||Cape Town–London
(British Airways flight)
|September 9, 2012||Jose Matada, 27||Luanda–London||Died (fell)|
|October 26, 2012||Unidentified male||London–Lagos||Airbus A340-500||Died|
|April 8, 2013||Unidentified male||Yaoundé–Paris
|June 6, 2013||Georgian national, 22 (presumably)||Rimini–Moscow||Airbus A321||Died|
|July 18, 2013||Hikmet Komur, 32||Istanbul–London
(British Airways Flight 675)
|Airbus A320||Died (froze), body found upon arrival to Heathrow Airport|
|July 25, 2013||Unknown male||Ouagadougou–Niamey–Paris
(Air France Flight 547)
|Airbus A330||Died (fell during landing in Niamey)|
|August 24, 2013||Daniel Ihekina, 13/14||Benin City–Lagos||Survived|
|January 5, 2014||Unknown||Mashhad–Medina (emergency landing due to landing gear failure)||Boeing 767-300ER||Died (body parts fell at an intersection in Mushrefa, Jeddah)|
|February 22, 2014||Chris Dikeh, Nigerian national||Dakar–Washington, D.C.||Airbus A340-300||Died|
|April 20, 2014||Yahya Abdi, Somali national, 16||San Jose–Kahului
(Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45)
|June 5, 2014||Male, 17||Sandefjord, Norway–Amsterdam
|July 27, 2014||Unknown male teenager||Mali (presumably)–Ramstein Air Base||Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules||Died|
|March 14, 2015||Unidentified male, 40s||Lagos–New York City
(Arik Air flight)
|Airbus A340-500||Died (the body was presumed to be in the wheel well from March 11, 2015 when the aircraft had its last flight from New York)|
|April 7, 2015||Mario Steven Ambarita, 21||Pekanbaru–Jakarta
(Garuda Indonesia Flight 177)
|June 19, 2015||Two unidentified males||Johannesburg–London
(British Airways Flight 54)
|Boeing 747||One died (fell during approach, body recovered from a roof in Richmond).
One survived with injuries and hospitalized.
- "Airplane Stowaways Expose Glaring Breach in Airport Security". ABC News. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "Stowaway cat survives flight from Athens". The Local. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "Wheel-well Stowaways Risk Lethal Levels of Hypoxia and Hypothermia" (PDF). Flight Safety Foundation. May–June 1997. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- Louise Maher (17 June 2015). "The Kupang Kid: Orphaned boy who risked life to come to Australia as stowaway in 1946". ABC Online. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- "Survival at High Altitudes: Wheel-Well Passengers" (PDF). FAA. October 1996. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls: True Stories of Castaways and Other Survivors. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1998. p. 469. ISBN 0395911508.
- "Wheel-well Stowaway Flights" (PDF). Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Cao Desheng. "Boy hiding in gear compartment killed". China Daily. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Two Mongolian Boys, One Dead, Found on U.S. Air Force Flight". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- "5 stowaway attempts that didn't end tragically". CNN. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- "Body found in plane undercarriage". BBC. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Stowaway survives flight". Star-News. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Stowaway survives Honduras-to-Miami flight at 33,000 feet". Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- Tim Sullivan, Raf Casert. "For a Pair of African Stowaways, Only Europe Held Hope of a Future". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Stowaway Found Alive in Jet's Wheel Well". ABC News. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Tahitian Stowaway to Los Angeles Found Guilty". Pacific Islands Development Program. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "« J'ai vu le train d'atterrissage se fermer sous moi »". Retrieved 2015-08-10.
- "The man who fell to earth". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- Al Baker. "Stowaway Fell From Jet Near Airport, Police Say". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- Труп в самолете «Люфтганзы» – пермяк или екатеринбуржец? (in Russian). NR2. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Error that cost the lives of teenage Cuban stowaways". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Cameroonian stowaway dies on Paris-bound flight". Africa Review. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Body found in wheel well of United 747 jumbojet". USA Today. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Gary Jones (6 December 2002). "Frozen Stowaways; Lax security blamed after 2 boys die in jet undercarriage". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- В отсеке шасси самолета найден труп безбилетника (in Russian). Lenta.ru. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Two Foreigners Fall Dead from Plane in Shanghai". China Internet Information Center. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- Living Through Terror. Routledge. 2013. p. 154. ISBN 1317982347.
- В Германии обнаружено тело россиянина, погибшего при попытке "зайцем" долететь до Франкфурта-на-Майне (in Russian). RIA Novosti. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- "Body found in wheel well of American Airlines aircraft". Airline Industry Information. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Body Find On BA Jet". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Body of man discovered in aircraft's wheel well". Airline Industry Information. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Stowaway's Leg Falls From Jet". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Stowaway's Body Found In Delta Jet". CBS News. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "Gambia: In SN Brussels Aircraft Incident Belgian Authorities Mount Investigation". allAfrica.com. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Catherine Elsworth. "Body 'may have been week on plane'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "Подросток пролетел в крыле Boeing-737 из Перми до "Внуково"" (in Russian). RIA Novosti. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "Stowaway survives SIA flight from KL hidden in wheel well". AsiaOne. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- «Зачем воспитанному мальчику российская столица» (in Russian). Gazeta.ru. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- Прокуратура устанавливает, как погибший мужчина попал в шасси самолета (in Russian). RIA Novosti. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- Японская полиция выясняет, как мужчина попал в шасси борта из США (in Russian). RIA Novosti. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- Безбилетник погиб в нише для шасси самолета в аэропорту Доминиканы (in Russian). RIA Novosti. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "Nigerian stowaways: When youths reach end of their dreams so soon…". Nigerian Tribune. 8 March 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
- Нелегальный мигрант погиб на пути в Швейцарию, выпав из отсека шасси (in Russian). RIA Novosti. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- "Romanian stowaway found at Heathrow freed after caution". BBC. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Мужчина погиб при попытке прилететь зайцем из Бейрута в Эр-Рияд (in Russian). RIA Novosti. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
- В Иркутской области подросток совершил перелет в отсеке шасси Ан-24. Izvestia (in Russian). Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "The Last Days of Delvonte Tisdale". Creative Loafing Charlotte. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
- "Dead Cuban Stowaway Found in Iberia Plane Landing Gear". AOL. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "Apparent stowaway found in landing gear of British Airways 747". USA Today. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "Heathrow Stowaway, Jose Matada, Who Fell To His Death Over London Is Finally Identified". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Rob Walker (January 6, 2014). "The final episode of a stowaway's story". BBC News. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
- "Man’s body found in undercarriage of Nigerian plane". Vanguard. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Stowaway found dead in Cameroon-Paris plane landing gear". RFI. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Итальянский "заяц", насмерть замерзший в самолете, оказался грузином. Moskovskij Komsomolets (in Russian). Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "Turkish stowaway froze to death in temperatures as low as -60C after sneaking into landing gear of BA plane in attempt to visit his girlfriend in Britain". Daily Mail. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Turkish stowaway found dead in Heathrow airline landing gear". Belfast Telegraph. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Безбилетник выпал из самолета при посадке (in Russian). Utro.ru. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Teen survives flight in aircraft wheel in Nigeria". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Body parts fall from sky in suspected stowaway incident". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Nigerian stowaway found dead under plane in the US". AfricanSpotlight. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Teen survives 5-hour flight in jet's wheel well". USA Today. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Corpse found in wheel well of KLM plane at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport". Associated press/CTV. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- "Body of young stowaway found in US military plane". Yahoo! News. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Chinedu Eze (15 March 2015). "Nigeria: After Roundtrip to U.S., Stowaway Dies in Arik Aircraft Wheel". AllAfrica.com. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- "Kronologi Pria Menyelinap Masuk ke Ruang Roda Pesawat Garuda". Kompas (in Indonesian). Retrieved 7 April 2015.
- "Stowaway dies after falling from British Airways plane in London". CNN. 19 June 2015.
- "'Plane stowaway' theory probed as body found on Richmond roof". BBC. 19 June 2015.