UK & World News

  • 30 July 2014, 12:48

Child 'Stowaway' Found Dead On US Military Plane

Security is being investigated after the body of a young boy was found in the landing gear compartment of a US Air Force plane that landed in Germany.

The youth was discovered by ground crew inspecting the C-130 cargo plane when it arrived at Ramstein air base after a routine mission to countries in Africa.

Initial investigations suggest the boy climbed onboard while the plane was in Mali. Pentagon press officer and Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby said the apparent stowaway was a black male likely to be of African origin.

"It is not known where or when he entered the wheel well," he said.

"Security is going to be looked at here. We try to provide as much security as we can for our aircraft when they're operating in remote locations, and this will all be part of the investigation.

"We'll learn what happened and if there's corrective action that needs to be taken, we'll take it," he added.

He added that airfields where US planes land in Africa are sometimes dirt strips with security that sometimes falls below that of other countries and that the boy was not discovered during pre-flight checks.

The boy's body has been given to authorities in Germany for an autopsy and possible identification. It is not known how old he was.

In April, a Somali immigrant survived a flight from California's San Jose International Airport to Hawaii after he stowed away in the wheel well of a Boeing 767 commercial airliner.

The unnamed 15-year-old passed out during the flight due to the high altitude - around 38,000ft, sub-zero temperatures and lack of oxygen.