A stowaway survived a flight from Africa to the Netherlands, in the nose wheel bay of a Cargolux 747! The person’s nationality is unknown.
There are multiple stories of people who managed to bundle themselves in the wheel well of an airliner, somewhere. Sadly, in the majority of cases, these stories end in tragedy. The simple truth of the matter is that the odds of surviving such a trip are very low. The wheel bays have no pressurization, nor heating. Even in relatively short flights, people often don’t have the consciousness to hold on when the gear doors open. That’s assuming they’ve survived until then.
But once in a while, we hear of an exception that proves the rule. And the stowaway that survived this Cargolux flight seems to be one of them. There is no official information regarding the flight. However, we know that this Cargolux flight arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (EHAM) on the 23rd of January. And there’s only one such flight.
Therefore, we believe that this stowaway incident involves Cargolux Italia flight CV-7156. This was a multi-leg trip, that had started the previous day when the 747-400 departed from Luxembourg Findel Airport (ELLX) as flight CV-7146. It reached Johannesburg (FAOR) in South Africa, where it only spent a couple of hours. The aircraft then flew on to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International (HKJK), in Kenya.
Where Did The Stowaway “Board” The Cargolux 747?
Authorities don’t know either the age or the nationality of the stowaway on the Cargolux flight. However, it seems most likely that he got on the aircraft in Nairobi. But incredibly, the flight from there to Amsterdam lasted over eight hours. The flight cruised between FL300 and FL340. Yet more incredibly, a source quotes Dutch authorities saying that the unidentified male stowaway spent over 11 hours on the plane.
And THAT suggests that the stowaway “boarded” the Cargolux 747 at Johannesburg! Considering that the plane sat on the ground in Nairobi for nearly four hours, this seems very unlikely. But wherever he boarded, this man’s survival was an unlikely one. The airline would not comment on the details of this incident, referring the matter to the authorities. As we’ve pointed out before, these matters have security implications, so airlines generally avoid discussing them.
A spokeswoman for the Dutch border Police said this about the stowaway on this Cargolux flight:
“The man is doing well considering the circumstances and has been taken to a hospital. Our first concern of course was for his health. This is definitely very unusual that someone was able to survive the cold at such a height – very, very unusual.”
The Cargolux crew stayed a bit longer than planned in Amsterdam – perhaps a necessary consequence of the stowaway incident. The plane then flew on, back to its base in Luxembourg. This is a thirteen-and-a-half-year-old Boeing 747-400F, with tail number LX-YCV. The Cargolux Group has been the only operator of the aircraft, since its delivery in 2008. Cargolux Italia has named it “Monte Rosa”.