Stowaway In Wheel Well Found Dead On U.S. Military Plane, Raises Ebola Virus Fears

A dead body found aboard a U.S. military plane was a teen stowaway. His corpse was discovered Sunday in the wheel well of a cargo jet, and went undetected after several stops in Africa. Fears rose about a possible Ebola virus infection. However, Pentagon officials said tests of the teenage stowaway’s body was negative for the disease, citing a CNN news report.

When a Air Force C-130 cargo plane landed in Germany after traversing Africa, a flight crew charged with inspecting the aircraft found the lifeless body of an adolescent boy. The teenage stowaway was a person of color, possibly of “African descent,” according to sources. However, not more is known about who he is; no identification was found on his body.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said this about the grisly discovery of the dead stowaway found in the airplane’s wheel well:

“The body of an apparent stowaway was found trapped in a compartment above the aircraft’s rear landing gear, the deceased was an adolescent black male, possibly of African origin. At this point, it is unknown where or when the deceased entered the landing gear wheel well.”

An investigation is underway to determine how and when the teen boy made his way into the landing compartment of the plane. A check of the flight’s manifest shows that the over eight days, the plane made five stops in various cities before returning to the U.S. base: Chad, Mali, Italy, Sengal, and Tunisia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed 800 cases of Ebola, which includes two of the plane’s stops: Mali and Chad. However, due to under-reporting and time delays, officials suspect the number of infection cases are about 40 percent more.

Military officials say that at no time was the plane in jeopardy, nor did the body of the dead stowaway trapped in the wheel well interfere with the navigation and handling.

In a July 29 report by The Inquisitr, fears of a possible global outbreak spread when an American from Minnesota died in Africa Friday after contracting the Ebola virus. The “red alert” went out to track down passengers who had possibly come into contact with the infected man.

So far, officials have not confirmed any diagnosis of anyone in the states who traveled with the flier. However, due to widespread panic, it’s quite understandable why the stowaway found dead in the wheel wheel of a cargo plane caused many to question the relative safety of the airline industry.

Stay tuned for more on this developing story.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]