A body of an unidentified man was found in the landing gear compartment of a plane that had arrived in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport from Lagos, Nigeria on Monday, April 19.
Dutch authorities have launched an investigation into the man’s identity and cause of death after he was discovered inside a wheel arch.
“We are investigating the discovery of a body in the landing gear of an aeroplane that arrived from Lagos Nigeria,” Royal military Police tweeted on Tuesday, adding that the Schiphol airport police unit and forensic investigators were working on establishing the person’s identity and cause of death.
According to the Dutch media, the body was discovered by the airport technical staff in the KLM airlines plane. The victim was reportedly a stowaway and was killed by the low temperatures during the flight.
A spokesperson for the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: “The man had holed up in the wheel arch of the plane. The low temperatures have presumably been fatal to him during the flight.”
According to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there have been 105 known cases of stowaways travelling in landing gear and other external locations since 1947. The survival rate is around one in four, with survivability reducing the longer the flight takes to travel. However, the FAA notes that this survival rate could well be much lower as some may have fallen from the wheel well during transit, without anyone realizing it