Man dies, body found in Amsterdam bound plane nose wheel

The search for the proverbial Golden Fleece abroad forced a man to damn the risk of creeping into the nose wheel of a wide-body aircraft with the intention of travelling overseas. The man, however, did not live to tell the story of his desperation of travelling from Lagos to the Netherlands as he was mangled to death before the aircraft touched down at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam.

The man was found in the nose wheel of a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777 (registered PH-BQM). This has further raised the question of how people find their way into highly fortified areas of airports not only in Nigeria but in many parts of the world.

An investigation has been launched to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.

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According to a spokesperson from the Royal Dutch Marechaussee, stowaways in wheel wells of aircraft face extreme temperatures that can drop to as low as minus fifty degrees during longer flights. This makes survival virtually impossible, and hypothermia is likely to be a contributing factor in this case.

He said, “Sometimes they survive, but most of the time it goes wrong given the sharp drop in temperature. On longer flights, temperatures can go down to minus fifty degrees, impossible to survive.”

Despite the risks, some stowaways still attempt to use this method to travel without proper documentation or authorisation, often seeking a better life or escaping difficult situations in their home countries.

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The discovery of this deceased stowaway highlights the need for increased security measures and thorough inspections of aircraft before departure to prevent such incidents from occurring. Airlines and aviation authorities regularly review and update their security protocols to ensure the safety and security of passengers and crew onboard.

Incidences of people sneaking onto planes aren’t as uncommon as you might think. Since 1996, there have been 105 stowaways on 94 flights worldwide, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) More than 76% of those attempts resulted in deaths, the FAA says.

The FAA’s numbers reflect stowaways in the wheel wells, nose wells, and other unpressurized areas. The statistics don’t include people who sneak into the cargo compartment or passenger area.

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Many Nigerians still attempt to stow away from Nigeria through flights and out of the many persons that attempted to stow away, almost all of them died, except the one who hid himself in the spares and tools compartment of a Boeing B747 of Medview Airline flight and travelled from Lagos to London a few years ago.

Many people who wanted to stow away in the body of an aircraft had died in their attempts but there have been few survivors due to peculiar circumstances.

Wole Shadare