Stowaway in Arik Air's Wheel Well Survives Flight

Nigerian teenager rode from Benin to Lagos.

Arik Air

Arik Air

** Arik Air 5N-MJN B737 from August 2010
(Photo by Maarten Visser via Wikipedia)**

Despite an alert airline crew, a Nigerian teenager was nevertheless able to hop a ride in the wheel well of an airliner – and survive. According to a story in the Nigerian news publication Leadership, the Arik Air flight departed Benin Airport for Lagos, only a 30-minute hop. As the crew taxied for takeoff, they spotted the boy hiding in bushes near the runway and alerted the tower. They were assured airport security personnel would take care of the situation.

As they turned to the active runway, passengers alerted the crew that the boy was running toward the aircraft. The captain informed the tower controllers, who again assured him security personnel were on scene, and cleared the flight for takeoff.

When the airliner landed in Lagos, the boy was seen running from the airplane and was arrested. Chris Ndulue, Arik Air managing director expressed concern over the security lapse at Banin Airport. He said, “We are worried by the incessant security lapses at our airports. We are appealing to the management of FAAN [the Nigerian aviation authority] to immediately address the problem.”

The flight from Benin to Lagos never climbed above 20,000 feet, no doubt contributing to the boy’s survival.

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