Friday, July 26, 2013

Shock as body falls from Air France Airbus A330 during flight, landing metres away from horrified resident on the ground

An Air France Airbus A300 [Photo: Air France]It’s not something that many people will experience (or want to experience) in life.

Yesterday, in the West African country of Niger, an unsuspecting resident was out and about in the early morning, when suddenly out of nowhere a human body came hurling down from the sky, landing metres away on the ground.

Imagine the shock of witnessing such a horrific sight. According to media reports, it turned out to be the body of a suspected stowaway, who fell from the landing gear of an Airbus A330-200, which was performing Air France Flight AF-547 from Ouagadougou.

"The police discovered the lifeless body of a black person lying in blood," commented Niger Interior Minister Abdou Labo, adding that blood had also been spotted on the left wing of the plane.

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The A330 was approaching the capital city of Niamey when the incident occurred, but continued for a safe landing. Authorities then grounded the plane, meaning that the onward flight to Paris was cancelled and passengers were rebooked onto a couple of alternative services.

Officials were holding the plane in Niamey so crew members and passengers could be interviewed, and investigators in Ouagadougou were also looking into "the conditions in which the passengers boarded," added Labo.

"At the moment, the plane is grounded on the tarmac at the airport and the flight to Paris is cancelled until the end of the investigation," he said.

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36 comments :

  1. Very sad, stowaways are usually looking for a better life, tragic when theirs ends this way !

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  2. The fall does not kill them they had frozen to death.

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    1. I totally agree, stowaway by the landing gear usually freeze to death before landing unless they are very very lucky!

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    2. They would unfreeze again as the plane decends..

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  3. Shaune Michael BadenhorstJuly 26, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    So a stupid illegal immigrant destroys others plans and costs Air France millions and you think it is sad? If he bothered finding out, he could of stowed away in pressurized air conditioned luxury as opposed to suffocating to death before freezing. Yes it is sad, it is sad he caused so much disruption to everyone else. He got what he deserved!

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    1. Someone looking for a better life deserves to die ?

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    2. Considering the ridiculously stupid way he decided to do it, yes.

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  4. Sharath AiyangarJuly 27, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    This has happened in India too. Very long back. A sardar who wanted to go England illegally so the idea was hide in stowaway and upon landing Heathrow his frozen body was found. It was found there massive security violation as to how a person could get so close without ticket...

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    1. Improve your English before posting so that we understand the post. No offense meant, Thank you

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  5. Seems to be happening a lot. Quite worrying...

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  6. Will the stowaways never learn? Need a better no grip surface or some graphic photos of likely outcome pasted in the wheel bay!

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  7. We had it more than twice in Lahore... :) Seems like a human trafficking via landing gear - It doesn't work! ;)

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  8. Gilberto KrieserJuly 27, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    This is not the first case of a person tried to get a free ride in an airplane.

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  9. Before 911 and all the security, this happened on somewhat of a regular basis in the 1960's. One morning a stowaway fell from a landing aircraft at Los Angeles onto a school play ground before classes started. Generally the person doesn't understand there is no air in that area during flight and the temperatures get to minus 60. So they freeze and die from that and lack of oxygen. Fortunately the death is somewhat peaceful since they go to sleep and then are ejected when the landing gear doors open and the gear drops. Security at the point of origin in this case is somewhat questionable.

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  10. How does a prospective stowaway get onto a "secure" airfield, anyway?

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    1. Niger security can't possibly compare to what we have in the U..S. It is sadly indicative of the level of desperation to flee.

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    2. > Niger security

      The aircraft was on approach to land at Niamey, in Niger.

      The flight originated in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. That's where the security lapse occurred.

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    3. You are so right Dave - but the typical American sees what they want to see, and if it makes their security look good they do not understand when others find their flaws. I live in the USA and believe me - their security has many holes also!

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    4. Its tragic yes but if this flight originated in the U.S. it would not have happened. Thank God for America and our security measures.

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  11. Doesn't surprise me. Anyone dumb enough to try something like this is also dumb enough not to take into account how little air there is up there and just how cold it is, much less take into consideration what a very small space the wheel wells will have when the gear is folded up into them. I consider it thinning the herd.

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  12. Not first time. There has been quite a few attempts, almost all of them with fatal result, but in 1970 one made it across the Atlantic in the landing hear compartment of a DC-8:
    http://surcandoloscielos.es/blog/volando-como-polizon-en-un-dc8/

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  13. Despite security measures stowaway continues. More reliable security measures to be put in place to prevent such occurrence in future.

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  14. This happened in the UK a few years back, how are these desperate people getting onto the main airfield, I appreciate they cannot understand the fatal consequences for them of hiding in wheel bays, but perimeter security should have stopped this. Are we getting to a stage when we need plane guards for ground movements?

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  15. There have been several instances of stowaways falling from aircraft on approach to UK airports (mainly Heathrow/Gatwick, for obvious reasons). The most recent was just under a year ago, in September 2012. The flights in question originated from various overseas airports.

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  16. Do we need WHEEL WELL INSPECTORS??

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    Replies
    1. Joseph, that may not be a bad idea. It might be incorporated in to the pre-flight inspection/walk around.

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    2. SUSAN you are kidding right? i can see it now on my walkaround sheet, check L/H wheel well for peeps, check L/H wheel well for peeps if found please tel them to get off the gear oh man too funny

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  17. Why do they build the wheel wells with enough extra room for a human body to stow away?

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  18. Many wheel wells occupy a roughly rectangular space in the wing between adjacent ribs and spars.

    Maybe if they made the wheels square, so that there wasn't any room to spare when retracted, that would solve the problem ...

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  19. With such security perimeter, I wonder how they board onto the aircraft? If we find the way they do it, we could prevent them from boarding as stowaways and avoid such tragedy!

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  20. Why is this a tragedy? Yes, security should be enough to keep these people out, but Darwin rules apply, and if someone tries this and dies, Darwinism is once again proven to work. As a pilot, I do not want to see some other regulatory requirement on me to prevent a couple desperate people a year from killing themselves. We already have enough regulations to prevent humans from being stupid by inconveniencing the masses, I for one, do not want to see more.

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    1. Drew, are you suggesting we should be applauding?

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  21. In the "old" days, the Flight Engineer would do a thorough walk-around to ensure that there was nothing broken or perforated on the aircraft prior to flight. This included kicking the tires, and looking into the wheel well.

    How difficult is it for the First Officer (or the Captain) of any given flight to do the same thing? There aren't too many places to hide in a wheel well. This practice would certainly do much to eliminate the problem.

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  22. I wonder if the wheel wells are as uncomfortable as the seats in coach :) Don't give United any ideas or they'll try to sell two more seats.

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  23. As I understand it, stowaways typically climb into the wheel well at some point between the gate and the runway, while the aircraft is stationary or taxying very slowly.

    They won't be there during the pre-departure walkaround, unless of course you find one who is there from a previous flight - which isn't as unlikely as it sounds:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/11/plane-flew-seven-flights-dead-stowaway-wheel-well/

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    1. Dave, even if, as you suggest, they stowaway while the aircraft is stationary or taxiing slowly, there are ramp personnel, mechanics, food and luggage cart drivers - is everyone missing these stowaways?? Considering vigilance is paramount at all points between the gates and the runways, and anyone on the ground in these areas should have appropriate clothing, and/or badges, one wonders how these stowaways are doing this.

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