Guatemalan stowaway survives flight to Miami hidden in plane’s undercarriage

Band Steve Gorman

November 27 (Reuters)A Guatemalan stowaway hidden in the landing gear compartment of an American Airlines plane survived a flight from his home country to Miami on Saturday, where he was turned over to US immigration officials and taken away in a hospital for evaluation.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency confirmed the incident in a statement originally cited by Miami-based television station WTVJ, which released a video taken of the man at Miami International Airport shortly. after the aircraft has landed.

The video, attributed to the “Only in Dade” social media page on Instagram, showed the stowaway looking dazed but otherwise unharmed, sitting on the tarmac next to the plane – clad in blue jeans, a T-shirt, jacket and boots – as the ground the crew personnel looked after him and asked if he wanted water.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Miami International Airport apprehended a 26-year-old man on Saturday morning trying to evade detection in the landing gear compartment of a plane from Guatemala, “the CBP statement read.

“The individual was evaluated by emergency medical services and taken to hospital for a medical evaluation,” the agency added. “This incident is still under investigation.”

American Airlines issued a statement saying its Flight 1182 from Guatemala City to Miami arrived shortly after 10 a.m. local time and “was encountered by law enforcement due to a security concern.”

The airline gave no further details except to say it was helping with the investigation. The Guatemala-Miami trip is a little over 2.5 hours.

Guatemala has accounted for a large portion of the estimated 1.7 million migrants apprehended or deported by US border officials over the past year, including many from Central America fleeing violent gangs and grim poverty.

Immigration attorney Angel Leal told WTVJ the Guatemalan stowaway will be held by CBP while facing an expedited deportation order.

The incident is reminiscent of footage from August showing desperate Afghans trying to hang onto the outside of a US military cargo plane as it rolled for take-off in chaotic evacuations from Kabul after Taliban forces took over. control of Afghanistan. A separate video showed what appeared to be two people falling from the plane as it took off from Kabul.

The Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment on Saturday’s incident.

According to the FAA, 129 people have tried to hide in wheel arches or other areas of commercial aircraft around the world since 1947. Of these, according to the agency, 100 have died from injuries or injuries. ‘exposure.

In one such incident in April 2014, a 16-year-old boy who ran away from home survived five hours in the wheel arch of an airliner as he flew from California to Hawaii.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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