Stowing Away Attempted Often, Never Successful
Ground service workers at San Francisco International Airport
got a grisly surprise Thursday morning, when they conducted a
post-flight inspection of a United Airlines Boeing 747.
Employees found what appeared to be the body of a male, based on
the clothing, inside the wheel well of the nose gear of United
Flight 858 after it arrived from Shanghai, China. The gender was
not readily apparent, airport spokesman Mike McCarron told The
Apparently, the person had crawled inside the nose gear's
housing intentionally, suggesting an attempted stowaway, he
"It's not an easily accessible place."
Stowing away on a commercial jet like that "has been attempted,
but it's never been successful," McCarron said.
"At altitude there's no air to breathe and it's maybe minus-40
degrees for 12 hours," he said. "You can't survive."
"People think they can make it into a country by hiding in a
wheel well," said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian
"Almost invariably they get crushed to death, freeze to death,
or fall to death."
However, there isn't much the US can do about it, he said.
"The security issue is with the origin airport."
Airport officials said there were no passengers on board the
aircraft at the time of the discovery and the plane has been
impounded, according to the Associated Press.
The San Mateo County Coroner's Office is investigating the exact
cause of death.