Miraculous Survival: Man Found Alive In Paris Flight’s Landing Gear

A man was found hidden inside the landing gear compartment of an Air Algerie flight from Oran to Paris Orly airport on Thursday morning. He was discovered, without ID, during checks of the aircraft after arrival and he was “alive but in a life-threatening condition because of severe hypothermia.”

The daily 917 mile flight from Oran is scheduled at two and a half hours, departing Oran at 8 a.m. and arriving Paris at 10:30 a.m. Transavia also operates the route.

With temperatures falling to less than 50 degrees below zero at cruising altitude, and lack of oxygen, conditions are excruciating. There are 132 people known to have stowed away in aircraft wheel wells between 1947 and 2021, and they have a mortality rate of 77%.

In 2021 a man survived the journey as a stowaway in the landing gear of American Airlines flight AA1182 from Guatemala City to Miami and was discovered on arrival at the gate. He was taken to a hospital by ambulance.

Between freezing temperatures and lack of oxygen there’s tremendous danger in stowing away in this way. Imagine wanting to come to escape to the West so badly to risk your life this way for hours. And those of us born here feel so entitled.

I quizzed a few people about Oran, and the only thing that rang a bell for any of them was the opening narration of the film Casablanca. The Sunni Muslim nation is actually upper-middle income, with per capital GDP over $10,000 annually.

With the coming of the Second World War, many eyes in imprisoned Europe turned hopefully, or desperately, towards the freedom of the Americas. Lisbon became the great embarkation point. But not everybody could get to Lisbon directly, and so a tortuous, roundabout refugee trail sprang up.

Paris to Marseilles, across the Mediterranean to Oran, then by train, or auto, or foot, across the rim of Africa to Casablanca in French Morocco. Here, the fortunate ones, through money or influence or luck, might obtain exit visas and scurry to Lisbon, and from Lisbon to the New World. But the others wait in Casablanca – and wait – and wait – and wait.

Here’s the incredible story of a man who stowed away in the wheel well of a 5100 mile British Airways flight and barely survived (his companion did not make it) and one of a man who shipped himself from Australia to Los Angeles in a box.

(HT: crucker)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Here’s hoping that one day there will be no borders and humanity will be one. Perhaps it’ll happen when those sneaky ETs on those UFOs we’ve been hearing about lately finally reveal themselves lol.

  2. What’s lost in this story is the lackluster security at ORN. It shouldn’t be that easy for a stowaway to hide in the landing gear bay. This could lead to more sinister scenarios.

  3. Gary, yes incredible story. But the part about all of us born here feeling entitled goes off the rails. I suppose I’m automatically consider a white supremist too? lucky is the word I use to be born here. I have no problem with immigrants coming to our country- the legal way, not JB open border anything goes way. My wife and I bought a retirement home recently in another country, don’t feel its my financial obligation to support 8 million illegals from all over the world. To live in the country of our retirement home, you have to PROVE you are healthy, not a felon, and have a income source where you do not become a financial burden to that country. Makes 100% total sense – total opposite of this country. By the way, I worked 2 jobs, 60-70 hrs a week for 20 years to achieve this dream. Sound like entitlement to you?

  4. I think the larger point of this story is the amazing lack of security for these aircraft. These are simply terrorist attacks waiting to happen. A major fail for security forces.

  5. Thanks @al for illustrating for us what entitled looks like. Do you really think there aren’t Algerians who work 60-70 hours a week for a heck of a lot longer than 20 years and simply manage to feed themselves. Thinking that working 60-70 hours a week for only 20 years entitles you to a cushy retirement is exactly what entitlement is all about.

  6. If only the rest or the world would adopt capitalism. Be would become richer. Then by becoming richer they would care more about the environment. They will not throw trash in rivers

  7. @ farnorthtrader. You missed the point of al’s comment and highjacked his comments to further your personal agenda.

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