Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stowaway's remains found on United plane at San Francisco

The remains of an apparent stowaway from China were found in the nosegear bay of a United Airlines Boeing 747 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) today. The discovery was made by ramp personnel this morning during a post-flight inspection. The aircraft, operating as United Flight 858, had just arrived at SFO from Shanghai.

The San Mateo County Coroner's office was notified, and the aircraft was temporarily impounded until the remains were removed from the scene several hours later.

An article on about this most recent stowaway incident says that, "counting Thursday's victim, the Federal Aviation Administration has tallied 75 similar stowaway attempts on 65 flights worldwide since 1947." Fifty-nine of those attempts have ended in death.
"People think they can make it into a country by hiding in a wheel well," [FAA spokesman Ian] Gregor said. "Almost invariably they get crushed to death, freeze to death, or fall to death."
There have been several other recent instances of stowaways in the gear bays of commercial aircraft, including two discovered at U.S. airports in January of this year. This is the first such discovery at SFO in years, according to the San Jose Mercury News:
The last time a stowaway was found dead in a wheel well at San Francisco airport was 2001, when the body of a 19-year-old native of Zaire was discovered on a US Airways Flight. The flight originated in London and made a stop in Pittsburgh - where the body was not found during a post-flight inspection - before arriving in San Francisco.
An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow to determine the exact cause of unfortunate man's death.

[Photo Source]