A Romanian man who hid in the landing gear of a Boeing 747 from Vienna to London has lived to tell his story. Only problem is, no one seems to be able to locate him.
He survived temperatures as low as -41 degrees Celsius while flying at altitudes of 25,000 feet. At that altitude, less than half the amount of oxygen is available as at sea level. The 800-mile flight took one hour, 37 minutes. The short-haul flight, coupled with the fact that the plane was flying lower than normal, attributed to his survival. A police source said,
The plane would normally have flown at 37,000ft which would have killed him but it was flying lower because of thunder-storms.
The man had to sneak past a fence in Vienna, hide in the landing gear, then tuck and roll when the plane touched down in London. He was immediately arrested. An interview discovered he was jobless and seeking work in the UK, but because he is an EU citizen with upstanding character, he was allowed to leave and remain in England. The act of being a stowaway on an airplane carries a max fine of 2500 pounds.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Scotland Yard called the Romanian Embassy in London looking for the man to answer some outstanding questions, but nobody knows where he is.
The airplane he boarded is owned by the Dubai royal family, who has threatened legal action against Vienna airport officials.
Not the first time
It’s not the first time that someone has attempted to catch a free flight this way, though almost all who do end up dying. In 2001, Mohammed Ayaz snuck on a plane in Bahrain and fell — surely already dead — when the pilot lowered the landing gears to touch down at Heathrow.
In 1996, brothers Pardeep and Vijay Saini stowed away on a jet from Delhi to London. Pardeep miraculously survived, but his brother did not.
Perhaps the most famous and political example is when a Cuban pair, Armando Socarras Ramirez and Jorge Perez Blanco, stowed away on a flight from Havana to Madrid in 1969. Amazingly, Socarras survived.
[Image: Maralinga / Flickr]