Posted for: AriesTonto
An American Airlines flight from Guatemala to Miami Saturday was revealed to have one additional passenger on board: A man who had stowed away in the plane’s landing gear.
A video posted on Instagram by Miami local social news site Only in Dade showed airport crewmembers apparently discovering the passenger after the plane arrived at the gate.
The man, who came off of American Airlines flight 1182, which landed about 10 a.m. ET Saturday, was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. The maintenance worker who recorded the video declined to speak on the record for fear that he would lose his job.
American Airlines said in a statement the flight”was met by law enforcement due to a security issue. We are working with law enforcement in their investigation.”
Samuel Orozco, a spokesperson for the General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics, Guatemala’s civil aviation authority, said the matter was still under investigation in the Central American country and could not provide further details at this time.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the law enforcement agency charged with enforcing U.S. federal laws concerning border control, customs, trade, and immigration, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
Dan Vasquez, a member of the content team at Only in Dade said, “We received this video and spoke to the person that took it, he was very scared and it is unbelievable that someone would survive this.”
“Can you imagine that kind of wind pressure?” Vasquez said.
The incident recalls the situation in August when the U.S. military was evacuating Afghanistan and hundreds of civilians were clinging to departing airplanes. Human remains were discovered in the wheel well of a C-17 cargo plane that landed in Qatar after departing the international airport in Kabul.
The Federal Aviation Authority told a local NBC affiliate that “as of February 2021, 129 people have attempted to stow away in the wheel wells or other areas of commercial aircraft worldwide since 1947. Of those, 100 people (about 78%) died of injuries or exposure during the flight.”
In recent years, Guatemala has been one of the main sources of undocumented migrants coming into the U.S. over the southern border. It was the largest source in 2019, as migrants were fleeing widespread government corruption, poverty and violence.
This year, Mexico has been the single most common origin country for migrants at the southern border, followed by Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, according to the Pew Research Center.