When people travel, it’s usually for business or pleasure, or at least something productive. Unfortunately, when the mode of travel is used the wrong way, it can turn into a senseless loss of life.
The BBC is reporting that the body of a child has been found in the undercarriage of an Air France plane at Charles de Gaulle Airport. (S)he was discovered in the well of the landing gear after flight AF703 had landed in Paris. It had taken off from Abidjan, the main city in Ivory Coast.
Air France confirmed the loss of the child in a tweet:
Translation (via Google Translate):
Air France confirms that the lifeless body of a stowaway was discovered in the well of the landing gear of the aircraft performing flight AF703 connecting Abidjan (ABJ) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle on January 7, 2020 1/2
The company expresses its compassion and deplores this human drama. An investigation is underway 2/2
A French police official who did not have authorization to be publicly named said the victim was a young African who hasn’t yet been identified, and that an investigation is underway. The child’s gender was not revealed, and it’s being reported (s)he appeared to be about 10 years old, although the exact age has not yet been confirmed.
An Ivorian security source said: “Aside from the human drama, this shows a major failing of security at Abidjan airport.”
Figures from Wikipedia suggest that 106 people have hidden under planes during flights around the world between 1946 and 2019; 24 of them survived. Cause of death is usually attributed to being crushed when the landing gear retracts, hypothermia due to extreme cold at higher altitudes, hypoxia due to lack of oxygen above 22,000 feet, or falling out of their hiding spot.
I can’t even imagine the reason why a child would do something like this. Did (s)he do it for fun and adventure, or maybe as a dare (you know kids…), not knowing what a huge risk it was to do so? Or was there something so awful happening in his/her life that (s)he felt the need to escape? Whatever the case, although the loss of any life is tragic, when it’s a child it’s even more so. I feel horrible for the child and his/her loved ones.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary