A “tremendously lucky” Kenyan teenage stowaway has survived freezing temperatures while clinging to the landing gear of a freight plane that flew from London to the Netherlands, according to reports coming out of Maastricht.
The Dutch Royal Marechaussee – a police branch of the Netherlands’ armed forces – tweeted that they believe the stowaway is a 16-year-old boy from Kenya who is now in hospital being treated with hypothermia.
The boy clung onto what is reportedly a Turkish Airlines cargo flight operated by an Airbus A330 from London’s Stansted Airport, though the aircraft had flown from Nairobi via Istanbul the day before.
The flight schedule raises the possibility that the 16-year-old could have begun his daring feat in the Kenyan capital.
PLUCKY, LUCKY AFRICANS
“He had tremendous luck to get through this,” a spokesman for Maastricht Aachen Airport told netherlandsnewslive.
“Stowaways on airplanes are rare, and most people sadly don’t survive the journey.”
TSA recently reported on the exploits of a 30-year-old South African man who clung to the undercarriage of a jumbo jet and survived an 11-hour, 9000 km flight from South Africa to London.
Themba Cabeka had been starved of oxygen and subjected to temperatures of -60C as the British Airways jet flew from Johannesburg on June 18, 2015.
He was unconscious in hospital for six months after being discovered on the grounds of Heathrow Airport.
The Kenyan boy was found on the jet that landed at Maastricht Airport after crossing the North Sea from Stansted at 19,000 feet.
A spokesperson for the Marechaussee said the teenager is doing incredibly well considering the circumstances.
Dutch aviation publication Luchtvaart Nieuws reports that the only flight to land from London at Maastricht yesterday was TK6305, operated by a Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-200 freighter.
The aircraft had flown to London Stansted from Nairobi via Istanbul raising the question that the individual could’ve boarded the aircraft the day prior given his nationality.
A flight from London to Maastricht takes about half an hour and reaches an outside temperature of -30 degrees, Afrinik reported.
“A plane from London flies a bit lower than longer flights,” said Dutch aviation specialist Benno Baksteen.
“On long flights, it will be -50 degrees, and there is not enough oxygen in the air to survive. At a temperature of -30 degrees, there is more oxygen in the air, and it can be maintained longer.”
Dutch police said they are trying to trace the the boy’s exact route and investigating whether this is a case of human trafficking. By Riyaz Patel, The South African