A man has been taken to hospital after surviving a nearly three-hour flight hidden in the landing gear of an aeroplane, US officials said.
The 26-year-old man, whose identity has not been confirmed, was discovered after emerging from the wheels of an American Airlines flight from Guatemala to Miami after it touched down at Miami International Airport on Saturday, November 27.
Footage circulating online showed the man, appearing dazed and exhausted but otherwise uninjured, sitting on the tarmac by the wheels of the plane as airport staff asked if he needed a drink of water, before handing him over to immigration officials.
In a statement, US Customs and Border Protection said:
Officers at Miami international airport apprehended a 26-year-old man who attempted to evade detection in the landing gear compartment of an aircraft arriving from Guatemala Saturday morning.
The individual was evaluated by emergency medical services and taken to a hospital for medical assessment.
It’s understood the man will likely be deported from the US once he is released from hospital. A significant proportion of illegal immigrants apprehended by border officials are Guatemalan, though the majority enter the US from the Mexican land border, The Guardian reports.
There have been several recorded incidents of people attempting to stowaway in the landing gear of aircraft over the years, however the risky approach more often than not ends in tragedy, with people either being discovered dead upon the aircraft’s arrival, or in some cases falling from the plane when the wheels were engaged ahead of landing.
The Federal Aviation Administration reports that since 1947 there have been 129 recorded incidents of stowaways in landing gears world wide, only 29 of whom survived.
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