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article imageRussian stowaway survives flight in landing gear

By Kim I. Hartman     Nov 2, 2010 in World
Kirensk - A 17-year-old ward of the state has survived an hour-long flight after hiding inside the landing gear bay of an AN-24 airliner; the teenager had reportedly escaped from an orphanage in a Siberian village.
The stowaway was picked up by police at the airport of the neighboring city of Kirensk and taken to the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with hypothermia and hypoxia.
When questioned he told the police that he had fled from the orphanage, located 300 km (186 miles) from Kirensk, along with his friend. After robbing a local grocery store, the two headed to the airport, where one of the boys hid inside the landing gear housing of an airplane, which subsequently took off.
Temperatures inside the landing gear bay can drop to as low as – 45-55C (-49-67F) and the altitude of flight often means oxygen is in short supply, this mode of travel can be hardly called safe and many such trips have ended in tragedy.
This is not the only incident of a man surviving a flight inside an aircraft compartment. In the most recent reported news, a 20-year old Romanian hid inside a landing gear bay and flew from Vienna to London, only to be taken into police custody upon arrival at Heathrow Airport. In 2007, the body of a man was found near the runway of a Moscow airport. Officials said he had fallen when the landing gear was deployed, reported the Daily Telegraph.
Prior to that incident a young man from the city of Perm in Russia's Ural Mountains flew into Moscow in another plane's landing gear niche. He survived the flight but was hospitalised with severe hypothermia.
Police say the boy, who is being treated for frostbite, will be returned to the orphanage, reports ABC International News.
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