Nigeria: Teen stowaway hides in jet wheel well, survives 35-minute flight

a a a a
Share this story

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- A young teenager dashed across a runway at a Nigerian airport, hid in the wheel well of a jet and survived a 35-minute domestic flight, the airline and aviation authorities said Sunday.

Passengers and crew had alerted the pilots that a boy was seen running to the plane as it was taxiing to take off Saturday from southern Benin City, Arik Airline spokesman Ola Adebanji said. The pilots alerted the country's aviation agency, he said.

The incident highlighted the growing concerns about airport security in Nigeria, which is fighting an Islamic uprising mainly contained in the northeast of the country, where there is a state of emergency.

"We are worried by the incessant security lapses at our airports," Arik Airline managing director Chris Ndulue said.

The West African country also has a history of major aviation disasters and security challenges.

Despite the possible presence of the boy, the pilots opted to continue with their takeoff, Federal Aviation Agency of Nigeria spokesman Yakubu Dati said.

"Immediately upon the departure of the aircraft, FAAN's security did another sweep of the area and found nothing unusual," Dati said.

When the plane arrived in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, a boy aged 13 or 14 jumped to the ground from the wheel and was detained by Arik personnel, Adebanji said. He said the teenager probably survived because the flight was short and the plane probably didn't rise above 25,000 feet (7,620 meters).

Most stowaways don't survive. The body of a suspected stowaway fell from an Air France plane over Niger, also in West Africa, in July and was discovered lifeless in a western suburb of the capital, Niamey, officials said. The plane was coming from Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, and was scheduled to continue to Paris.

In September 2012, a man's body landed in a street in southwest London. He was eventually identified as Jose Matada, 26, of Mozambique, who an employer said had expressed an interest in moving to Europe for a better life. Police thought at first he was a murder victim, but soon determined his lifeless body had fallen from a plane preparing to land at nearby Heathrow Airport.

Last year, Nigeria gained a coveted U.S. safety status that allows its domestic carriers to fly directly to the U.S.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More World News
5 students among 9 dead in ferry sinking
5 students among 9 dead in ferry sinking

An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people…

290 missing, 6 dead in ferry disaster
290 missing, 6 dead in ferry disaster

A ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast…

Official says sub will be used in search for jet
Official says sub will be used in search for jet

Search crews will for the first time send a robotic submarine deep into the Indian Ocean on Monday to try to determine whether underwater…

Pistorius breaks down on stand in murder trial
Pistorius breaks down on stand in murder trial

The chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius on Monday accused him of tailoring his version of how he killed his girlfriend to…

Ukraine, pro-Russia forces clash in gun battle
Ukraine, pro-Russia forces clash in gun battle

Ukrainian special forces exchanged gunfire with a pro-Russia militia in an eastern city Sunday, according to the interior minister.

Pings go silent, long hunt for missing jet looms
Pings go silent, long hunt for missing jet looms

After a week of optimism over four underwater signals believed to be coming from the missing Malaysian plane, the sea has gone quiet and…

Australia PM confident sounds are from jet
Australia PM confident sounds are from jet

With the Malaysian jetliner mystery now five weeks old, officials have narrowed the search zone for the missing plane and are "very…

Australian PM confident sounds are from MH370
Australian PM confident sounds are from MH370

Authorities are confident that signals detected deep in the Indian Ocean are from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes,…

Libyan politicians fear powerful militias
Libyan politicians fear powerful militias

In a humiliating video, Libya's top politician - the head of parliament - is seen begging with a militia commander, trying to explain to…

New possible sound detected in hunt for lost jet
New possible sound detected in hunt for lost jet

An Australian aircraft hunting for the missing Malaysian jet picked up a new possible underwater signal on Thursday in the same area search…