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Longtimer
1st Jul 2019, 17:49
Sad when this happens but it does raise concerns re the security or lack thereof at the origin airport.

https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/624x505/fallen_67ad87ee1c9ac07e88814e7b971d1e117b865704.jpg

sooty655
1st Jul 2019, 18:19
BBC news item is here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48830212

Mike Flynn
1st Jul 2019, 21:20
BBC news item is here - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48830212

Very sad but how do you convince uneducated people who want to stowaway they will die in a wheel well?

Perhaps a better walkaround at certain airports?

Webby737
1st Jul 2019, 22:23
Very sad but how do you convince uneducated people who want to stowaway they will die in a wheel well?

Perhaps a better walkaround at certain airports?

It would need a bit more than a better walk around.
You would need to open the MLG Doors and then climb up the door to inspect the MLG Bay.
The MLG Doors would then stay open till the relevant hydraulic system is activated and the doors are closed.
This delay could give the opportunity for more stowaways.
There's no simple solution, especially given the airport security or lack of in some parts of the world.

WingNut60
1st Jul 2019, 22:33
It would need a bit more than a better walk around.
You would need to open the MLG Doors and then climb up the door to inspect the MLG Bay.
The MLG Doors would then stay open till the relevant hydraulic system is activated and the doors are closed.
This delay could give the opportunity for more stowaways.
There's no simple solution, especially given the airport security or lack of in some parts of the world.

And you would hope that aircraft servicing personnel who might yet aspire to a better life in the first world would be warned against the dangers of trying to stow-away.

Lord Farringdon
2nd Jul 2019, 00:48
Well this does highlight a security concern but not one related to a freeloading passenger flying fourth class in the wheel bay. The bigger concern is that this demonstrates the ease at which a stowaway gained access to the wheel bay. The apparent inability of ground maintenance staff to sensibly check the area 'clear' just prior to push back is of even greater concern since this means that a person (or group) could easily have placed a ruck sack of explosives with associated air pressure or timer trigger in the wheel bay and unless they were seeking both mayhem and martyrdom, would have no need to travel at all. Now I know that these stowaway events are rare in comparison to total flights (and associated with airfields where security is weak or almost non existent) but with all the camera technology available today, couldn't wheel bay areas be monitored? I'm not thinking just stowaways here but for maintenance staff checking before pressurisng hydraulic systems or activating gear doors during maintenance, area 'clear' check before pushback (stowaways, unusual packages, left behind maintenance equipment), and after take off checks looking for smoke, fire, tyre or wheel or hydraulic or landing gear damage. I seem to think I have seen this on some aircraft but perhaps they were new aircraft undergoing trials?

601
2nd Jul 2019, 00:58
Now I know that these stowaway events are rare in comparison to total flights

How do we know. This one only came to light because the body fell into a suburban area.
Think of all the areas under approach paths around the world that are not suburban areas buy water, forests etc..

Lord Farringdon
2nd Jul 2019, 02:36
How do we know. This one only came to light because the body fell into a suburban area.
Think of all the areas under approach paths around the world that are not suburban areas buy water, forests etc..


Well you go by the number '601' (numerolgy?, Angel number perhaps?) so that might be why you present a riddle rather than a fact :) , Sooo...you mean like if a stowaway fell out of aircraft but there was no one to see it, did it actually happen? That's the same as if a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound or, if no one looked at the moon ever, would it exist and if no one ever looked at it how could you prove or disprove its existence? Philosophical's aside, what I am saying is that the number of 'recorded' stowaway events does not seem on it's own to warrant the fitment of wheel bay cameras to every commercial airliner capable of secreting a stowaway passenger. The number of philosophical opportunities for it happen, even less so. But the point of my post was that there are many more daily security and operational requirements (including the detection of stowaways) that might warrant the fitment of wheel bay cameras and I thought someone who knows might be able to answer if this is being done today?

Ascend Charlie
2nd Jul 2019, 05:18
Shouldn't this be in the Darwin thread?

wiggy
2nd Jul 2019, 05:59
There's no simple solution, especially given the airport security or lack of in some parts of the world.

^^This, very much this ^^.

I certainly wouldn't rush to criticise the standard of walk arounds and/or vigilance of flight crew and ground crew in the case in question until we find out exactly when the stowaway got into the wheel well - if we ever do.

blue up
2nd Jul 2019, 06:16
"A bag, water and food were discovered in the plane's landing-gear compartment after it landed"

How did he get water through security???

wiggy
2nd Jul 2019, 06:26
"A bag, water and food were discovered in the plane's landing-gear compartment after it landed"

How did he get water through security???

In the context of this thread be careful of using a "European"/Western World model when it comes to airports worldwide, and everything that goes with them.

I'm not going to spell it out but have a think about what myself and Webby might have meant when we mentioned the lack of airport security in some parts of the world..and consider that there is much more to airport security than scanners ( but before anyone asks, yes Nairobi does use scanners at security).

SpringHeeledJack
2nd Jul 2019, 08:03
A sad occurrence, which has happened on a a good number of occasions over the years going into LHR. Most of the occurrences happened in the Putney/Mortlake/Richmond areas, where descending aircraft seem to lower their wheels in preparation for landing. I don't recall ever hearing about bodies falling out over Windsor etc when the aircraft are landing from the West. Perhaps it's as previously said, that the more rural the approach, the less likely that the stowaway's body would be found , let alone noticed. Maybe bodies have fallen out over the brief moments the landing aircraft have been over the River Thames and have been reported at some later date as unknown, presumed drowned/murdered and disposed of ? In this day and age of technology would it be too difficult to install a small device that would be able to scan for anomalies (human/animal/insect) in the MLG area ?

DaveReidUK
2nd Jul 2019, 08:16
A sad occurrence, which has happened on a a good number of occasions over the years going into LHR. Most of the occurrences happened in the Putney/Mortlake/Richmond areas, where descending aircraft seem to lower their wheels in preparation for landing. I don't recall ever hearing about bodies falling out over Windsor etc when the aircraft are landing from the West. Perhaps it's as previously said, that the more rural the approach, the less likely that the stowaway's body would be found, let alone noticed.

I don't think any conclusions can be drawn from that.

The number of bodies known to have fallen from aircraft approaching LHR would be more accurately described as "a handful" rather than "a good number of occasions", so the fact none have been found under the 09 approaches (which only account for about 30% of landings) is of doubtful statistical significance.

Ascend Charlie
2nd Jul 2019, 10:49
There was a newspaper photo from Sydney back in the 70s, where a stowaway in the wheel well was sitting on the flipper door. After takeoff, raise the wheels, flipper door flops open and...the cameraman was taking a random pic of a departing jet and got the body dropping from the plane.

blue up
2nd Jul 2019, 11:48
From a neighbour...
"Positive Rate, Gear up, Gear down, Gear up" "Problem solved."
Not a very tactful comment.

thegypsy
2nd Jul 2019, 12:42
Glad they were on 27L at the time as if on 27R he might have dropped in on us uninvited.

JagRigger
2nd Jul 2019, 13:04
I recall years ago reading a story in Readers Digest of two African stowaways, and how they planned and executed their 'escape' . They jumped on the bogies / into the bays as the aircraft lined up to roll.
One died on take off, but from memory the second did ( just ) survive

edit - post an article just read it may be a Cuban one Iím thinking of 1969

ZFT
2nd Jul 2019, 13:25
Shouldn't this be in the Darwin thread?

Not really. These sad people are not stupid, just lacking in education and do not realise they are signing their own death warrant the second they climb into the wheel well.

Maninthebar
2nd Jul 2019, 16:23
Not really. These sad people are not stupid, just lacking in education and do not realise they are signing their own death warrant the second they climb into the wheel well.

Actually, that's an incorrect characterisation. Folk are desperate, and they are almost certainly aware that some survive. The BBC reports that the FAA identifies a survival rate of about 25% for 'stowaways'.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33199985

Now not all of those will have been in the wheel-well, though the Beeb does name survivors for that case, but there is a risk that it understates 'successful' migrations where the individual has evaded detection at both ends of their journey.

Brian W May
2nd Jul 2019, 16:33
Shouldn't this be in the Darwin thread?


My feelings entirely. He won't do it again . . .

Paul Lupp
2nd Jul 2019, 17:01
..... but there is a risk that it understates 'successful' migrations where the individual has evaded detection at both ends of their journey.

If they evade detection at both ends of their journey, how does anyone know to add them to any statistics ???

If there are scanners that can detect stowaways on trucks entering the UK at the docks, can't there be a similar hand-held device with which aircraft wheel wells can be checked? Bit of an over-kill (sorry) as it cannot happen very often and I dare say not many can attempt this activity at one go.

DaveReidUK
2nd Jul 2019, 17:13
Now not all of those will have been in the wheel-well, though the Beeb does name survivors for that case, but there is a risk that it understates 'successful' migrations where the individual has evaded detection at both ends of their journey.

It would be more accurate to say that only a very small proportion of stowaways who survive have travelled in a wheel-well. The rest will have been in a cargo hold or other pressurised compartment. The statistics probably underestimate the imbalance, since the wheel-well occupants are more likely not to figure at all in the stats if their fallen bodies have remained undiscovered.

While it's always difficult to counter misconceptions among the vulnerable, I can't help feeling that education would help. If potential wheel-well stowaways could understand that the odds of survival are hugely stacked against them (even compared to, say, a RIB across the Med) then perhaps we might see an end to these tragedies.

Council Van
2nd Jul 2019, 17:24
If they evade detection at both ends of their journey, how does anyone know to add them to any statistics ???

If there are scanners that can detect stowaways on trucks entering the UK at the docks, can't there be a similar hand-held device with which aircraft wheel wells can be checked? Bit of an over-kill (sorry) as it cannot happen very often and I dare say not many can attempt this activity at one go.
They stick CO2 probes in the truck at the ports.

​​​​​​The concerns about security at African Airports rather amuse me. Not so many years ago when I was working in Nigeria I watched a local chap wander across the runway at Benin City with a load of fire wood balanced on his head and who can blame him. It looked very heavy so why not take a couple of miles short cut.

JagRigger
2nd Jul 2019, 17:31
I recall years ago reading a story in Readers Digest of two African stowaways, and how they planned and executed their 'escape' . They jumped on the bogies / into the bays as the aircraft lined up to roll.
One died on take off, but from memory the second did ( just ) survive

edit - post an article just read it may be a Cuban one Iím thinking of 1969

I even found the article https://www.rd.com/true-stories/survival/escape-from-cuba-dc-8/

LTNman
2nd Jul 2019, 17:49
Famous photo from 1970 https://www.vintag.es/2018/05/keith-sapsford.html
https://i.imgur.com/KKPyUqm.jpg

There was a photo shown on the BBC news of the indentation the London faller made on a concrete path. Nasty.

standbykid
2nd Jul 2019, 18:10
I would suggest a ground crew member made it be known that for $$$ a blind eye would be turned and even a helping hand given to the stowaway.

capngrog
2nd Jul 2019, 18:10
Despite a few apparently credible accounts to the contrary, I have a great deal of difficulty understanding how anyone could survive a ride of several hours in the wheel well of a modern transport category aircraft. If the stowaway is not dislodged during the takeoff, then he most survive the possibility of being crushed by the retracting gear, then he must survive the extreme cold of high altitude flight, then he must survive on the meager oxygen available at 30+ thousand foot altitudes, then he must survive falling from the wheel well upon gear extension, then he must survive the landing impact, then he must survive the anger of upset gate agents, etc., etc., etc. Too many "if situations" in that entire scenario for me to wrap the remains of my brane around.

Cheers,
Grog

tdracer
2nd Jul 2019, 22:03
Several years ago there was a documented case of a teenager who survived after stowing away in the wheel well of a flight from the US mainland to Hawaii (~5-6 hours). IIRC, they figure the cold slowed his metabolism enough that he was able to survive the lack of oxygen at altitude. I suspect being young and relatively healthy helped as well.
That being said, the probability of survival has to be pretty minimal.

DaveReidUK
2nd Jul 2019, 22:43
Despite a few apparently credible accounts to the contrary, I have a great deal of difficulty understanding how anyone could survive a ride of several hours in the wheel well of a modern transport category aircraft. If the stowaway is not dislodged during the takeoff, then he most survive the possibility of being crushed by the retracting gear, then he must survive the extreme cold of high altitude flight, then he must survive on the meager oxygen available at 30+ thousand foot altitudes, then he must survive falling from the wheel well upon gear extension, then he must survive the landing impact, then he must survive the anger of upset gate agents, etc., etc., etc. Too many "if situations" in that entire scenario for me to wrap the remains of my brane around.

Yes, it would be interesting to analyse the few known instances of survivors to see if there was any pattern, for example aircraft type, etc.

It would be reasonable to expect that shorter sectors and/or those flown at a lower FL might be more survivable, for instance.

Lord Farringdon
3rd Jul 2019, 00:12
Yes, it would be interesting to analyse the few known instances of survivors to see if there was any pattern, for example aircraft type, etc.

It would be reasonable to expect that shorter sectors and/or those flown at a lower FL might be more survivable, for instance.


I read somewhere that radiated heat from the tyres and hydraulic systems can provide some warmth but presumably only on the first 30-60 minutes of the flight. In fact I wonder how hot those tyres would be after sitting on a hot African tarmac for 2- 4 hours then charging down the runway at max AUW? And what a frightening moment. The engine noise so close and then this massive bogie with wheels spinning at take off speeds before they are braked, aggressively enters your living spaces like some screaming monster who is really pi**ed at you for squatting in his cave!!! Now how close are you to those hot tyres?

I think in the same article I read, as others have suggested here, the mind numbing cold is literally that. The brain cools down and needs less O2 to survive. One assumes, that the stowaways first actions after take-off, when the temps start dropping, is to snuggle on top of a now only warm tyres. Soon after, unconsciousness and/or a form of hibernation is entered due to the extreme cold and O2 depletion. On destination arrival It's quite conceivable, the illegal passenger (if not already dead) is unlikely to be alert enough to the fact that the landing gear they initially laid down on is now descending.

Edit: Let's add another scenario to that. Wet runway. Spinning wheels coming at you. Water blasted and thoroughly soaked seconds after take off. Soon to be at -53 degrees.......

Smythe
3rd Jul 2019, 00:20
For me , I am a bit sceptical of the latest claim, a body falls near a man sunbathing in a garden in Clapham...

Clapham + sunbathing is so far out there.

Want to bet he claims PTSD from it?

HEMS driver
3rd Jul 2019, 03:06
I heard that he had a falling out with Kenya Airways.

Jumbo744
3rd Jul 2019, 04:20
I read somewhere that radiated heat from the tyres and hydraulic systems can provide some warmth but presumably only on the first 30-60 minutes of the flight. In fact I wonder how hot those tyres would be after sitting on a hot African tarmac for 2- 4 hours then charging down the runway at max AUW? And what a frightening moment. The engine noise so close and then this massive bogie with wheels spinning at take off speeds before they are braked, aggressively enters your living spaces like some screaming monster who is really pi**ed at you for squatting in his cave!!! Now how close are you to those hot tyres?

I think in the same article I read, as others have suggested here, the mind numbing cold is literally that. The brain cools down and needs less O2 to survive. One assumes, that the stowaways first actions after take-off, when the temps start dropping, is to snuggle on top of a now only warm tyres. Soon after, unconsciousness and/or a form of hibernation is entered due to the extreme cold and O2 depletion. On destination arrival It's quite conceivable, the illegal passenger (if not already dead) is unlikely to be alert enough to the fact that the landing gear they initially laid down on is now descending.

Edit: Let's add another scenario to that. Wet runway. Spinning wheels coming at you. Water blasted and thoroughly soaked seconds after take off. Soon to be at -53 degrees.......

Very good realistic post. I wish the next candidate could read it and understand it's suicidal to try. In most cases I am sure local authority helps getting onboard promising everything will be fine in exchange of money.

I've flown a lot out of West African airports and I was always impressed by the security around the aircraft. They check (or pretend to) every person coming close. There is no way a random person can just approach the plane and get in. But why not go into the cargo hold instead? Easier to hide behind all the luggage I would think, and safer.

thegypsy
3rd Jul 2019, 07:00
Yes indeed safer in the cargo hold but a bit scary if you do so when the aircraft is off to do a four man base check detail as happened in Kuwait Airways in late 70's when on the B707 we did alternate base checks on the aircraft would you believe and several of us being checked set off doing steep turns etc when we heard a banging noise. The F/E was sent below into the lower 41 and through the small glass hole he saw a startled figure which was a Baluchi loader who had gone into the forward hold to get out of the sun and fell asleep. We were forced to do a full stop landing to let him out and then continued on! I guess he had a story to tell his mates.

Akrapovic
3rd Jul 2019, 12:35
Just because they’re not there on a walk round, doesn’t mean they can’t get through a hole in the fence and join the aircraft on taxy out. Not all airports are as secure as people think, particularly in the Third World.

I remember vaguely, a story where a stowaway had made it to Heathrow, and was found wondering around the apron one morning. The skipper of the flight who found out it was his aircraft the stowaway was on, was so appalled at this person’s desperation, that he went through the process to adopt him....maybe someone can add more to this, but it’s disappointing to see some of the joke comments made about someone taking extreme measures to escape a life somewhere in hope of a better one somewhere else.

Webby737
3rd Jul 2019, 13:05
Just because theyíre not there on a walk round, doesnít mean they canít get through a hole in the fence and join the aircraft on taxy out. Not all airports are as secure as people think, particularly in the Third World.

I remember vaguely, a story where a stowaway had made it to Heathrow, and was found wondering around the apron one morning. The skipper of the flight who found out it was his aircraft the stowaway was on, was so appalled at this personís desperation, that he went through the process to adopt him....maybe someone can add more to this, but itís disappointing to see some of the joke comments made about someone taking extreme measures to escape a life somewhere in hope of a better one somewhere else.

I agree, your life must be pretty awful to attempt stowing away on an aircraft.
Re. Security at many African airports, whist the terminal areas are generally pretty secure a lot of the airport fencing and general security is poor, there's also a huge amount of corruption so passing a couple of $$ to someone for airside access would be pretty easy.
This is one of the reasons your handbagage is checked at the foot of the entry steps at many airports.

beamender99
3rd Jul 2019, 13:06
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48830212

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7209239/Stowaway-landed-Clapham-garden-probably-Nairobi-airport-worker.html

a_q
3rd Jul 2019, 13:37
...one related to a freeloading passenger flying fourth class in the wheel bay.

I heard that Ryanair were going to start charging for this seat.... extra too, as it has more legroom!

Ex Cargo Clown
3rd Jul 2019, 14:55
I'd stash myself away in Hold 5. Nice and warm, and comfy in there. If it has one.

jolihokistix
3rd Jul 2019, 15:08
"His body was an ice block" https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-48852316

PHXPhlyer
3rd Jul 2019, 15:22
Can't post link.
Google Charlotte Airport Stowaway.

WingNut60
4th Jul 2019, 02:02
And you would hope that aircraft servicing personnel who might yet aspire to a better life in the first world would be warned against the dangers of trying to stow-away.

Kenya stowaway 'may have been airport worker'

Seems that I may have been wrong.

marchino61
4th Jul 2019, 06:14
Some people were wondering how often stowaways survive. The BBC has some facts and figures on this:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33199985

DaveReidUK
4th Jul 2019, 06:36
Some people were wondering how often stowaways survive. The BBC has some facts and figures on this:

Though, as discussed earlier (and acknowledged in the BBC piece)

"many stowaways don't make it to their destinations, making it difficult to gauge the number of incidences"

So in fact it's pretty well impossible to gauge the survival/death rate with any degree of confidence.

MoateAir
4th Jul 2019, 08:31
Surely a simple installation of 360 degree web cam ( and probably an internal light) would give the crew a view of the entire space within the wheel wells? Possibly other unrelated benefits to this too.

redparrot
5th Jul 2019, 15:59
Hello from Mssissauga Ontaro Canada. Our airline provided maintenance support to a Caribbean L-1011 operator in YYZ. The contract required one AME to work the pushback with the headphone in case of any last moment problem. As the aircraft was moving back from the gate the AME suddenly saw a pair of legs sticking out of the left main landing gear door from the small gap in the MLG door at the MLG cutout in the lower wing. The AME stopped the push back and returned it to the gate. The left MLG door was carefully opened an a very groggy young male slid out. He asked where his buddy was! At this point a very sheepish contract ground crew lead admitted that they had found another very groggy male under the aircraft and had placed him inside the warm up shack under the bridge. The AME climbed up inside the wheelwell and found a 3 foot cut to a fiberglass panel that led to an unpressured area in the forward fairing next to the AC PACKS.He found a bag of food and drinks , some cigarette butts , a 45 colt handgun , and a 7/16 box end wrench !! It looked like they had loosened a clamp on the main bleed air duct just enough to get a stream of hot air to keep themselves alive. It later turned out both males were wanted for murder !!!

MATELO
12th Nov 2019, 16:04
Update to the OP.

https://news.sky.com/story/who-was-the-man-who-fell-from-the-sky-11859868

Eutychus
13th Nov 2019, 11:11
Thanks for posting that. Investigative journalism at its finest - and from Sky! It's a shame we don't see more pieces like that these days.

DirtyProp
13th Nov 2019, 13:40
It would be more accurate to say that only a very small proportion of stowaways who survive have travelled in a wheel-well. The rest will have been in a cargo hold or other pressurised compartment. The statistics probably underestimate the imbalance, since the wheel-well occupants are more likely not to figure at all in the stats if their fallen bodies have remained undiscovered.

While it's always difficult to counter misconceptions among the vulnerable, I can't help feeling that education would help. If potential wheel-well stowaways could understand that the odds of survival are hugely stacked against them (even compared to, say, a RIB across the Med) then perhaps we might see an end to these tragedies.

Perhaps placards in several languages placed inside the wheel wells?

I'll get my coat...

homonculus
13th Nov 2019, 14:06
Sorry, actions and consequences. If you deliberately undertake a criminal act, and potentially put others in harms way, there will be consequences.

OldnGrounded
13th Nov 2019, 15:54
Sorry, actions and consequences. If you deliberately undertake a criminal act, and potentially put others in harms way, there will be consequences.

C'mon, tell the truth. You're not really sorry, now are you?

It couldn't hurt to read the story MATELO linked to, just above:

The Man Who Fell from the Sky (https://news.sky.com/story/who-was-the-man-who-fell-from-the-sky-11859868)

BlankBox
13th Nov 2019, 21:08
...was gonna post this back in October ...but nahhh thought better of it...same old, same old...

https://globalnews.ca/news/6087866/body-found-vancouver-airport/

Gauges and Dials
14th Nov 2019, 22:23
A family in on a quiet suburban street awoke to find a body in their front yard. Medical examiner was shocked at the brutality and savagery of his injuries; surmised that he had been beaten and then deliberately run over with a car and then dumped. It took a while before the possibility of the deceased having been a stowaway emerged.

https://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/us/11plane.html

PC24
23rd Nov 2019, 15:18
The Sky investigation was poor. The guy identified as the dead stowaway has actually been behind bars in Kenya since August. His pictures were lifted off social media pages. It's no surprise that Sky News has retracted the story and pulled it down. The airport cleaning company has also denied knowing him. It still remains a mystery who this guy is and where he's from.