Decomposed Stowaway Found on Arik Plane at Johannesburg Airport


Chinedu Eze

The decomposing body of about a 30-year-old man was yesterday found in the wheel-well of Arik Air flight, A330-200 at the Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa.

According to statement from the airline, the aircraft operated the scheduled Lagos-Johannesburg flight that departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at 3:55p.m. on November 29, 2016 and arrived Johannesburg shortly before 11p.m.

Arik said it was engineers of South African Airways Technical facility at the airport where the aircraft was scheduled for a routine maintenance check that discovered the body of the stowaway during inspection.

THISDAY authoritatively learnt that the body had decomposed to a third degree before it was discovered and inside source disclosed that the deceased might have hidden himself in the aircraft on Sunday when the aircraft departed from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to JFK Airport in New York and died of cold when the aircraft gained altitude to a freezing level.

“So the body might have been there for about four days because the aircraft returned from the US on Tuesday morning and departed to Johannesburg in the afternoon. So for the fact the body has already decomposed shows that it had been there for days. The aircraft was on ground for five to six hours before it left for South Africa, so the deceased died on Sunday,” an insider told THISDAY.

The South African police, report disclosed, had already taken hold of the body for investigation to know how the body boarded the aircraft.

It was when the aircraft taxied to a maintenance facility for A Check, expected to last for 48 hours that the body was discovered by engineers who had already started stripping the aircraft for maintenance.
This is the third time dead stowaway would be found in Arik aircraft.

Industry observers attribute the easy access to the aircraft in the tarmac of any of the nation’s airports to laxity in the security apparatus and urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to sensitise the public that nobody survives in aircraft wheel-well.