A dead man was found in a wheel well after seven flights. The man apparently stowed away in the wheel well of an iFly Airbus A330-300. The dead and frozen stowaway was discovered at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport when a crew member saw blood on the landing gear.
Upon further inspection, the crew member found the man’s body lodged inside the wheel well. Identification found with the man revealed that he was a native of Georgia.
It is unknown exactly how long the dead man was inside the wheel well. As reported by The Australian, a medical examiner determined that he froze to death at least four days before he was discovered.
The man’s body was found on June 6. According to flight records, the Russian charter logged seven flights in the four days previous to his discovery.
It may seem unlikely that the dead man went unnoticed by the maintenance crew for seven flights. However, as explained by commercial pilot Patrick Smith, it may not be feasible to do a thorough inspection between flights:
“Walk around inspections, which are done by maintenance personnel … do include a check of the landing-gear bays but there’s so much plumbing and machinery in there that every nook and cranny isn’t necessarily visible.”
As reported by NBC News, dead people are found in wheel wells far too often. Since 1947, 99 stowaways have been discovered in airplane wheel wells. Seventy-six of those stowaways died.
Moving parts, extreme temperatures, and dangerous air pressure are to blame for most of the deaths. As stated by Smith, “there’s almost no chance of survival.”
Unfortunately for some, the chance of a better life, in another country, outweighs the risk. The stowaways are almost always traveling out of developing nations.
It is unusual that a dead man was found in a wheel well after seven days. Even more unusual is the fact that nobody realized he was there. Sadly, his reasoning may never be known or understood.