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Squawks & HeadlinesShock as human body falls from Air France Airbus A330 during flight

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Shock as human body falls from Air France Airbus A330 during flight

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It’s not something that many people will experience (or want to experience) in life. Yesterday, in the West African country of Niger, an unsuspecting resident was out and about in the early morning, when suddenly out of nowhere a human body came hurling down from the sky, landing metres away on the ground. (www.theaviationwriter.com) More...

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glen4cindy
Glen England 8
I agree this is a tragic experience, and I'm not making light of that, but, who in their right mind thinks they can stow away in the landing gear well? Doesn't anyone give thought to even how cold it is at 30 something thousand feet? Much less how little air there is up that high?
SootBox
SootBox 8
The wheel well is coach on RyanAir.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 6
The average stowaway looking to escape a bad life doesn't know that!!!
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Hell, if they knew that they wouldn't stow away.
acmi
acmi 7
I used to work at KMIA...Happened frequently. We called them Columbian Popsicles. Most of them dropped into the ocean when the gear doors opened, but every so often one would 'stick' and not fall out till landing.
preacher1
preacher1 5
Why would they hold the plane to speak to the crew and "INVESTIGATE"? Crew probably didn't know anything about it. I could see a perfunctory inspection in case of any damage but, sad as it was, no big deal and not the airlines problem. If anything, a security problem at origination point.
siriusloon
siriusloon -2
At no time did the article say that the crew was being "INVESTIGATED", or even just investigated. If you're too lazy to read the article, allow me to quote: "Officials were holding the plane in Niamey so crew members and passengers could be interviewed, and investigators in Ouagadougou were also looking into 'the conditions in which the passengers boarded'..." No doubt they were asking if they'd seen anyone near the landing gear to determine when and how the stowaway gained access, as well as checking to make sure that nothing was damaged. I'm sure the inspection was more than merely "perfunctory", too. You may think this wasn't a big deal, but when it comes to aircraft safety, experts disagree.



preacher1
preacher1 1
Maybe you need to read my post. I believe it says SPEAK TO THE CREW. As far as PERFUNCTORY, only so much you can do. Bloody wing indicated maybe something out of the ordinary. This happens all the time and we are lucky to hear about one every now and then. I will have to be on the side of those experts that say wipe the blood and go on.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 3
Don't fight it. It's part of Darwin's "natural selection".
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 3
Very tragic death for the stow away. But greater tragedy for the person who was the witness to the fall on ground. A traumatic experience that may linger on and haunt him indefinitely. Not to mention his own providential escape.
Poor souls, both.
tisom2
Terry Isom 4
It was the Nigerian prince coming to collect his inheritance from Amber Hill!
StymieHo
Chris Donawho 1
LOL - I agree. Hell, the Government of Nigeria has to get my inheritance from somewhere.... may as well be that Amber Hill bimbo.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
Crude and avoidable humour!
So I feel.
Remember, riches and poverty are all relative.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Not referring to riches but scammers.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Tsk Tsk. one thumbs up for you!
preacher1
preacher1 0
keithc1965
keith crabill 1
Im sure that the pilot did his walk around and im sure he check inside the landing gear.Its hard to miss someone up there.
codpwned808
Matthew Wettstone 1
The stowaway didn't die on impact. He or she froze to death.
btweston
btweston 1
Pretty sad, but who in the hell actually thinks this would work?
mickndot53
Mickey McCarthy 1
I think that there is a pretty fair chance that a lot of of people in those areas have no idea how high the plane flies or what the temperatures would be like.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
From what I've seen reported, this usually (if you can call it that) occurs on flights landing in Europe. Maybe he (I presume it was a male) picked the wrong flight, or it just doesn't make it to our news agencies when it it an intra-African flight.

Ignorance of the conditions, desparation, or both were perhaps the drivers.

I don't understand the bit about 'blood on the wing'.
Moviela
Ric Wernicke 1
When will sensors be installed for $30 that can detect an object in the wheel cavity? My sympathy to those uneducated souls that regard this as a way out. I think we have a responsibility to protect them.

It will just be a matter of time before a body sends a plane off the runway, or damages the gear. You can rely on airport security. They could not spot a wounded bear in a phone booth.
texino
Thomas Mechling 1
In 2010, a North Carolina teen tried to reach Boston by the same method. When his body was found, autopsy was inconclusive as to cause of death. An expanded investigation uncovered that the youngster had run away from Charlotte and the time frame and approach data suggested he had fallen from a certain flight. The departure airport and the carrier were sued by the victim's family. While, I find the comments making light of the ignorance of these stowaways to be knee jerk Schadenfeude, I am irked by the irony of the persons responsible for the boy's ill advised "flight" receiving any reward.
JSCustomComputers
JSCustomComputers 1
I feel a darwin award coming his way
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
While working out a universally acceptable procedure, cost-benefit ratio will have to be worked out.
A bird hit, seemingly a small menace. BUT a very heavy price.
Stow away? Variable price. So the measures have to be devised accordingly.
preacher1
preacher1 3
Most of these will wait until after the walk around and sometimes will run out and hop in as it taxis or is in hold position for the runway
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
Right you are my friend.
I do not know how much fictional picturization 'motivates' for such errors. Some of you may be remembering the movie "Catch me if you can" starring Tom Hanks and Leonard Di DiCaprio where in Leonard is shown to escape through lavatory and landing gear while landing. Though entire operation is not shown yet viewer gets a clear idea of how he did it.
It can be one the sources of misinformation! Leading to avoidable catastrophic results.
preacher1
preacher1 2
As he post above says, they probably just don't know. Abject poverty and getting out of it is primary on their mind and in reality, is more desperation than anything.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
I'm not sure he qualifies. First is the question of whether he has already added to the gene pool. Another is that this is not that unique an occurance. I was going to add lack of spectacular elements but that does not seem to be in the rules as posted here:
http://www.darwinawards.com/rules/
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
But when do they weigh the planes? What about penalties for more souls than on the manifest?
preacher1
preacher1 1
That part is a tad puzzling, which is why I said a perfunctory inspection should be done. I would think out of the gear well and gone.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
OK, so you put a sensor in the wheel well, then what. You are airborne and discover an intruder. How are you going to get him out w/o risking him falling out? Did you just waste $30/ wheel well/ airframe?
JSCustomComputers
JSCustomComputers 1
he probably fell out, hit the wing then fell
onceastudentpilot
tim mitchell 1
I know they lost their case against the airport but I believe the lawsuit against the airline is still on-going....It was a tragic event but I feel the only person that was guilty of anything was the teenager; basically for making a naive decision.
preacher1
preacher1 1
That's bad Phil, really bad.lol
preacher1
preacher1 1
D-U-H, ya thank?
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
Just $30.00! Amazing. And still no attention. For machines costing well over $ 150+ Million.
Yes, such incidents do not happen so often, yet this can not be a reason to 'permit' illegal immigration or let a person die or allowing a free piggy ride.
I am sure FAA has a big role to play.
siriusloon
siriusloon 1
And how much time do you think elapses between his walkaround and the aircraft taxying away from the gate?
preacher1
preacher1 1
I guess I am sounding insensitive again, but on a thousand planes, that's $30,000. Why should the airlines be required to spend it. Not really their problem. Airport security. If it crimped the gear on takeoff, there would be a cockpit indication, pilot would cycle the gear, body would drop, and all would be cool. Happy Monday!!
preacher1
preacher1 1
Depends on the airport, and it don't have to be and most likely is not boarding at the gate area. Most times it has been noted out on the tarmac, just before takeoff
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
That seems to be the easy explanation. But how does a dead body fall out the bottom of an airline, and then fly up to hit the wing, aerodynamically speaking?

I can't see falling out being part of such a scenario. Maybe lowered slowly as the gear descended, and then picked up by the airstream flowing past, and striking the wing but in the immediate vicinity of the fuselage.

Gives new meaning to the concept of lift.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
That could've come from the frog in the cockpit...
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
A post script. I meant the aircraft manufacturers to incorporate such a 'gadget'! And for FAA to recommend it, as guideline or as a mandatory requirement.
ThanX
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
At first glance, Preacher's attitude seems insensitive.

And it's not the cost of the sensor(s) either. Keep in mind, you'd need multiple sensors per plane. At least one for each landing gear. Maybe infrared might work; body heat would show up among lots of cool to the touch metal.

But it isn't just te hundreds of dollars to install these sensors in each plane, plus run wiring to the cockpit and place yet another blinking light in the midst of the sea of gauges and doohickies.

It's just another distraction for a pilot with a planeful of 100's of other lives, for which he is actually respinsible.

Not only do you have flights delayed/cancelled because some percentage of sensors or their wiring fail. Sensors don't last forever, or they get very expensive.

While it is unlikely for just one more sensor to cause so much distraction to cause an entire airliner to crash, the tendency to sensor everything and make the flight deck a mass of beeps and a confusing mess of flashing lights will continue to distract pilots from their core responsibility to fly the plane.

The greater the distractions from the core central function of flying, the likelier that planes and lives will be lost.

It's hard to convince that even one plateful of regular paying airline passengers' lives should be put at risk for any number of illegal stowaways.

That said, danger warning signs would be appropriate, in both English and whatever is the local language plus most impryant universal pictograms.

Plus some pointy protrusions to take away any comfortable flat spots to rest might also be helpful (like they do to discourage pigeons and/or homeless in some places like building ledges and park benches). Although I would imagine that aircraft mechanics would likely disagree strongly with that idea. Mechanics wouldn't enjoy the idea if getting poked repeatedly and having skin ripped while servicing an aircraft. The resulting deferred maintenance (deferred in an attempt to avoid bodily injury of mechanic) might result in equipment failure, and in turn could cause injury or loss of plane or life.

So it's just just as simple as a matter of a $30 sensor or 3 $250 sensors, plus the 100's/ maybe thousands to install not only the sensors but the wiring to make them useful, per plane.

Who's responsibility is it anyway to care for the lives of illegal stowaways. Installation of sensors may have the perverse effect of creating a standard of care for non-paying illegal stowaways and liability for their certain deaths (in most cases). It might create an increasing wave of stowaways who either make it to their destination, or their family gets a payout fromthe airline.

No matter how you slice it, this is a hornet's nest of a mess for any airline that gets involved in trying to save stowaways from themselves.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Methinks 'miracle' is an unlikely basis as well.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Alternatively, since stowaways demonstrate problems with ground-based security, how about addressing it on the ground?

No net distraction for flight deck crew.
As Wallace24 said, "you can't fix stupid".
preacher1
preacher1 1
FAA and government mandate items apply to all manufacturers and are passed along in the cost. Again, not the airlines problem. I personally wouldn't care if it was $3.00.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
You can't fix stupid. Years ago here at PAH we had a guy grab onto the horizontal stabilizer as the plane turned onto the runway. His free ride lasted to the perimeter fence and about 200' vertically. Never identified him.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, supposedly, that's where it ought to be handled
StymieHo
Chris Donawho 1
Perimeter fence.... that's pretty damned impressive. How anyone could hold on at V1 is amazing to me.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
They say, death is a great equalizer/leveler.
I wonder if readers of this portal ever read that! Or any one taught them this, at home, in schools in society.
Imagine, some one's near and dear one, chasing to catch a bus dies, due to a hit by a vehicle or due to breathlessness! And then this death is mocked at in their social circle?
Utter insesitiveness on part of some.
Sad, very sad.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 0
So far it is not clear how he fell out. Was it during closing of landing gear or during opening? And if neither, then it's a serious matter for the landing gear case to open up.
Regarding low temperature aspect, if he fell during closing of landing gear then the temperature is not very low because air craft altitude is not very high BUT if it happened during opening/lowering of landing gear then chances are that the poor fellow had already frozen to death before falling out.
The autopsy will reveal all.
Security lapse, YES by all means.
preacher1
preacher1 3
Plane was on approach, so it was probably as they opened and he was already dead. That is the way that others have happened.
acmi
acmi 1
very few autopsys in Niger....
ceuarpt
Jules Grosjean 1
How about"he was crushed when they put up the gear" I'm sure airplane designers don't make their landing gear wheel wells large enough for stowaways. They have to conserve all space on an aircraft so there is no room for a body inside the wheel well once the gear is up, DUH!
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, that is a good possibility too, but there are several compartments that are large enough if one pays attention. Most will on that as they are still alive at that point, but as you say, it don't really matter. Dead is dead.
Brendan464
Brendan McReynolds -1
lmfao poor guy haha probably hoped he had a parachute :o
preacher1
preacher1 1
I don't expect a parachute was anywhere on his mind as the air became colder and thinner and he froze and/or suffocated rather quickly.
Brendan464
Brendan McReynolds 1
Well yeah, that kinda stinks
preacher1
preacher1 0
Look toward the top. There is a comment from AMCI about when he used to work at KMIA. We never hear about those; it's all about these over in Africa or wherever. Sounds like a lot more than we know or hear about.

[This poster has been suspended.]

james801
James Farnsworth 2
Amber Hill,
You have been reported to FA!!! FYI most of us on this site are not a dumb like you thus we will not fall for your game. Why have you not made any of this money?
btweston
btweston 0
$77/hr... $20,942 after a few hours... Wow. Please tell us more about interdimensional teleportation.
StymieHo
Chris Donawho 1
Damned wormholes....
preacher1
preacher1 1
I'm kinda like you. That's about 7 40 hour weeks worth. Sure is a few hours.LOL