Thursday, 1 December 2016

Dead Stowaway Found On Arik Air Plane In Johannesburg

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Yet another deceased stowaway was discovered on an Arik Air flight at the Oliver Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday.

The unidentified stowaway was found dead inside the wheel well of the Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

The flight had departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos on Tuesday at 3:55 pm and arrived in Johannesburg at 11 pm that night.

A statement by the spokesperson of Arik Air, Mr. Ola Adebanji, disclosed that the engineers of the South African Airways Technical facility at the Oliver Tambo International Airport discovered the body of the stowaway during the inspection phase of a routine maintenance check on Tuesday.

He said that investigations were ongoing to determine how the stowaway found his way into the aircraft’s main wheel well from the Lagos airport.

A source close to MMIA told our correspondent that it is not uncommon to find stowaways on planes departing from the airport, as some desperate Nigerians connive with security operatives at the airport to get access to restricted areas of the facility.

The source said that the stowaway may have gained entrance into the airport through the Shasha area of the airport at night and hid himself in the wheel well of the aircraft, hoping to travel successfully to any overseas country.

Just recently, a stowaway was found on a Med-View Airline aircraft destined for Accra, Ghana.

The stowaway, a man in his 20s, had successfully hid himself in the tire compartment of the aircraft, which was ready for taxiing from the international wing of the airport, before he was spotted by the pilot who was carrying out a final inspection of the aircraft before departure.

The pilot immediately raised the alarm and called the attention of the security officials at the airport who immediately swung into action, arrested the man and handed him to the police station at the domestic airport.

The suspect allegedly confessed that he had been hiding around the airport for two weeks trying to achieve his goal of travelling out of the country by all means.

He confessed during investigation that he attempted to stowaway out of desperation to leave the country for another one in search of greener pastures.

In a related case, a suspected stowaway was found dead in the belly of an Arik Air aircraft at the same airport. The deceased stowaway was discovered during the routine inspection of the United States bound aircraft.

Before then, there were no fewer than four stowaway incidents recorded on Arik Air jets.

It would be recalled that in October 2012, a stowaway entered the undercarriage of an Arik Air aircraft to New York from MMIA with the alleged aide of some security personnel and ground handling companies at the airport.

The unidentified stowaway later died and was discovered when the aircraft returned to Nigeria from New York by its personnel conducting routine checks in Lagos. Local medicine and a Bible were found on him.

Again, on the same airline on August 24, 2013 at Benin Airport, a 13-year-old stowaway, identified as Daniel Oikhena, hid under the undercarriage of the aircraft from Benin to Lagos.

Information gathered revealed that the boy thought the plane was on its way to the United States, but unfortunately for him, the aircraft landed in Lagos and he was immediately apprehended at the airside of the airport by security personnel.

In 2013 alone, no fewer than five stowaway incidents were recorded in the nation’s airports.

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