Indonesian Stowaway Survives One-Hour Flight

Garuda Indonesia aircrafts at Soekarno Hatta airport, Jakarata, Indonesia, 12 December 2014. An Indonesian man survived a one-hour flight from Sumatra island to Jakarta by hiding in the passenger jet's landing gear bay, media reports said Wednesday. EPA/MAST IRHAM

JAKARTA (DPA) — An Indonesian man survived a one-hour flight from Sumatra island to Jakarta while hiding in the passenger jet's landing gear bay, police said Wednesday.

The man, identified as 21-year-old Mario Steven Ambarita, crawled out of the wheel well of a Garuda Indonesia plane on Tuesday after it landed at the Soekarno-Hatta airport, dazed and staggering, said airport police spokesman E Sutrisna.

"He said he wanted to meet President Joko Widodo, but he didn't say for what purpose," Sutrisna said, adding that the airport authority has taken over the investigation. 

Garuda spokesman Pujobroto said the man appeared to have breached the fence at Sultan Syarif Kasim II airport in Riau province on Sumatra island and climbed into the aircraft's wheel well as it was preparing for take off.

"He knew that the plane would stop for a moment before taking off," Pujobroto, who goes by one name, was quoted as saying by the Kompas.com news website.  

Ambarita was treated at the airport's clinic. 

Kompas said Ambarita was the third stowaway since 1981 known to have survived hiding in an Indonesian plane's landing gear bay. 

Temperatures can drop to well below zero degrees Celsius outside a plane at above 16,000 feet (4,875 metres), and wheel bays are not equipped with heating or oxygen.

Extreme cold and lack of oxygen has killed other stowaways on longer flights.

 

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