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Stowaway Found Alive In Wheel Of Plane Following 11-Hour Flight From South Africa

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Stowaway Found Alive In Wheel Of Plane Following 11-Hour Flight From South Africa

A stowaway has been found alive in the wheel of a plane after an 11-hour flight from South Africa to Amsterdam.

The man - who has not been identified at the time of writing - was found alive at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport yesterday (23 January) morning, having touched down in the nose wheel of a cargo plane from South Africa.

The Dutch military police (Royal Netherlands Marechaussee) said the man was 'doing well under the circumstances' and had been transported to hospital.

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Stowaways rarely survive flights due to the low temperatures and oxygen levels at high altitude.

Dutch broadcaster NOS reported that the man was able to answer basic questions by the time an ambulance had arrived at the scene.

Dutch military police spokesperson Joanna Helmonds said: "The man was found alive in the nose wheel section of the plane and was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

"It is quite remarkable that the man is still alive."

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The stowaway was found on a flight operated by Cargolux Italia, and according to flight tracking data, there was only one freight flight operated by the airline from Johannesburg to Schiphol yesterday.

This flight stopped in Nairobi, Kenya, but it is not yet clear when or how the stowaway hid in the wheel.

A Cargolux spokesperson told The Guardian: "We are not in a position to make any further comment until the authorities and the airline have completed their investigation."

In 2015, another stowaway survived against the odds in the wheel of a plane - but tragically his friend died during the journey.

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Themba Cabeka and his friend Carlito Vale hid on the wheel arch of a Boeing 747-400 travelling from South Africa to London.

Just before landing, Vale fell from the British Airways flight and was found dead in the air-con unit of an office block, just six miles from Heathrow.

Cabeka said: "When the plane was flying, I could see the ground, I could see the cars, I could see small people.

"After a little time, I passed out through lack of oxygen. The last thing I remember just after the plane took off was Carlito saying to me: 'Yeah, we've made it.'"

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Cabeka was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary. Credit: Channel 4/Postcard Productions
Cabeka was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary. Credit: Channel 4/Postcard Productions

Cabeka was in a coma for months following the journey and sustained injuries when the plane landed at Heathrow, leaving him dependent on crutches to walk.

He subsequently claimed asylum and settled in Liverpool.

Speaking on Channel 4 documentary The Man Who Fell From The Sky - which aired last January - he said: "When I was applying as an asylum-seeker, I went through the process and was accepted.

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"I'm now waiting to get a passport. It takes five years to get a British passport and then I will be able to fly on a plane.

"I will be a Scouser then."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: World News

Jake Massey
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