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Stowaway Survives!

Fri Aug 04, 2000 5:23 pm

A stowaway in the wheel well of an Air France 747-400 survives an 11 hour flight from Tahiti to Los Angeles with no oxygen in subzero temperatures and is confrontational with authorities. Any more info?
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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Fri Aug 04, 2000 5:26 pm

I'd be wantin to kick someones ass also after 11 hours in a gear well.


RE: Stowaway Survives!

Fri Aug 04, 2000 5:30 pm

I'd have to see this to believe this. Unless he found his way into a pressurized area I would think this is impossible. But, hey, I've been wrong before as some who frequent this page are quick to point out!  
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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Fri Aug 04, 2000 5:48 pm

LOS ANGELES, August 3 – A Tahitian who stowed away in the wheel well of an Air France 747-400 in Papeete was forcibly removed and taken into custody on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport tonight, officials said.       MAINTENANCE WORKERS FOUND THE MAN in the wheel well on the left side of Flight 71 shortly after the plane landed at Tom Bradley International Terminal about 7:50 p.m. and pulled up to at Gate 105, said Jim Wells of the Los Angeles Fire Department.     The man appeared to be covered in oil, he said.    The man fought with firefighters, a local station reported, and apparently was injured in a scuffle. He was taken to UCLA Medical Center to be checked out.     Los Angeles police Officer Don Cox said the man, believed to be 38 years old, was in critical condition. He reportedly is suffering from hypothermia and dehydration.     Wheel wells, which receive retractable landing gear, are not heated or pressurized. It was unclear at what altitude the plane was cruising, but airliners generally fly at about 35,000 feet, where temperatures can be well below zero, even on a warm day at sea level.     Several such international stowaways have been found in planes landing in Miami in recent years, but the case may be the first of its kind in Los Angeles. A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said he was unaware of any similar case in Los Angeles, adding that he has been here for six years.     Flight 71 departed from the Tahitian capital of Papeete and was supposed to continue on to Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris at 9:25 p.m. It, however, was off schedule. The flight, cleared for takeoff by Federal Aviation Administration inspectors shortly after 9 p.m., was expected to take off about 10 p.m., Castles said. -From MSNBC News

RE: Stowaway Survives!

Fri Aug 04, 2000 6:03 pm

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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Fri Aug 04, 2000 7:45 pm

Is he crazy? As a french citizen he has th right to enter the US at any time through customs.

I'have so far only heard about these things when flights to Europe from Africa were involved.

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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Fri Aug 04, 2000 8:48 pm

Remember this Indian who survived India-LHR in the wheelwell of an BA 747-400 2 or 3 years ago? His brother died and was found outside the airport.

The survivor seemed to have serious health problems since, especially psychologially. I don´t know if they deported him back to India.

He travelled in this rather uncommon way dressed only with a T-shirt (!) and survived through falling into an extremely deep sleep like the winter sleep of a bear.

That´s what I can remember from that case.
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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Fri Aug 04, 2000 10:18 pm

He may have the right to enter the U.S. as a French citizen, Avion, but that doesn't mean he has the money for plane fare   
An unexamined life isn't worth living.

RE: Stowaway Survives!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 4:08 am

Yeah, but what about Bermuda II? (j/k)
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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 4:24 am

I wonder what they're going to charge him for airfare, last time I checked, "wheel well" wasn't an official class code.  

RE: Stowaway Survives!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 5:30 am

Well wheel need to think about that. As he was under carriage from Papeete to Los Angeles maybe he was a guest of AF. 

RE: Stowaway Survives!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 5:35 am

I heard a couple years ago, some guy survived the flight from, i think it was HKG to NRT in a NW 742. He was deported.
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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 6:16 am

Earlier this year (I tink it was in January), a suspicious leak was found comming from one of the wheel wells of a NW DC-10 in EWR shortly after arriving from AMS. Yes, you've guessed it - there was a frozen stowaway in the wheel well. What can I say - some people really want to come to the US...
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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 10:27 am

I would like to know how it is that wheel wells are open to the general public? I thought that wheel wells were connected to the plane itself. And the plane was parked inside the airport, around which there is usually a barbed wire fence.

So if I want to go to Paris next year, I don't need a ticket? All I need is a ladder to climb over the fence, warm underwear, mitts, and a cup of hot coco?

An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
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Robin27 Wins!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 11:17 am

robin27, that was so painful it was good! keep 'em coming!

I remember several years (decades?) ago, a story about a young Japanese man found frozen to death in the middle of Central Park in mid-July. No one could figure out how he got from Japan to NY or how he was still frozen after many hours of 90F. It wasn't until a few days later when a detective was at the scene when he heard a jet overhead. The detective looked up to see a 747 lowering its gear on approach to JFK. If this is true, it may have been the first case of stowing away in a jet wheel well.

Can anyone confirm, or is this an urban legend?

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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 11:21 am

It must be pretty hairy hanging on in the well when the gear retracts and those big tires come up spinning like hell. And then the doors close and you can't see anymore!!! Does anyone know how long they spin after they come up? I also find it hard to believe that someone can survive 8+ hours of breathing frozen air at 30,000 feet or higher. I would think that even an Everest climber, acclimated to 20,000 feet would be hard pressed to survive. Any doctors out there care to comment?
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Tire Spin On Retract

Sat Aug 05, 2000 11:40 am

All transport category aircraft I'm familiar with have a system called 'gear-retract braking' which lightly applies the main wheel brakes once the gear begin to come into the wheel well. The mains stop spinning within 10-15 seconds.

On Boeings, the nose wheels, which have no brakes, have a 'de-spin' pad on the ceiling of the nose wheel well which stops the nose wheels through friction.

Tom in NO
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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 12:14 pm

Pardon my ignorance.....I thought that Air France quit operating Papeete-LAX flights when Air Tahiti Nui started the run. Is ATN still flying the run, with AF picking up the slack on ATN's off-days???.....sorry to be off-topic.

Tom in NO (at MSY)

P.S. Not many pictures beat the one of the guy sitting with his legs hanging out the open gear door of a World Airways 727-100 that was evacuating people out of Saigon.
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
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RE: Stowaway Survives!

Sat Aug 05, 2000 5:38 pm

Air Tahiti Nui operates Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Air France operates Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. AOM operates Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Until, Aug. 30, they also go on Mondays and Wednesdays. Air New Zealand does Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Air France goes CDG-LAX-PPT, and AOM ORY-LAX-PPT.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson

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