The stowaway who was found on Thursday in a wheel arch of an airplane at the airport in the Dutch city of Maastricht is probably a 16-year-old Kenyan boy. He is still in the hospital but is doing reasonably well, according to a spokesman for the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.
“It remains amazing how he was able to make this trip and that he survived,” said the Dutch police service spokesman.
The stowaway boy was hidden in the landing gear of an airplane flying from London to Maastricht Aachen Airport. He was discovered after landing in the Netherlands and was hospitalized with severe hypothermia.
The Marechaussee is investigating the boy’s exact route and whether there is a case of human smuggling.
People sometimes hide in the space of the landing gear in order to enter another country.
Usually, the stowaways do not survive this journey because of the cold, or they fall out of the wheel arch when taking off.
A flight from London to Maastricht takes about half an hour and reaches an outside temperature of -30 degrees.
“A plane from London flies a bit lower than longer flights,” said Dutch aviation specialist Benno Baksteen on Thursday about the strange story of the stowaway, probably 16-year-old Kenya.
That may well have been a matter of life or death. “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.”