Dead stowaway: Fresh facts emerge on KLM flight originating from Lagos
Fresh facts have emerged about how a dead stowaway was discovered in the nose wheel well of a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777 (registered PH- BQM) originating from Lagos last Monday.
The development has raised serious concerns regarding airport security and how the man managed to climb into the aircraft at the airport apron, an area highly restricted.
However, Saturday Vanguard gathered that the aircraft which arrived from Toronto took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport for Schipol in Amsterdam.
A stowaway or clandestine traveller is a person who secretly boards a vehicle, such as a ship, or an aircraft amongst others.
It would be recalled that a similar incident happened in 2021 when border police found the body of a Nigerian man in the landing gear of a plane arriving at Schiphol Airport.
However, findings showed that the traveller might have died of hypothermia, a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature
According to a spokesperson from the Royal Dutch Marechaussee, “Sometimes they survive, but most of the time it goes wrong given the sharp drop in temperature. On longer flights, temperatures can go down to minus fifty degrees, impossible to survive.”
Following the development, the airline in a statement stated that the dead stowaway was discovered in the wheel well of the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777 (registered PH-BQM on Monday, April 17th, 2023.
“This morning, a deceased stowaway was discovered in the wheel well of a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777 (registered PH-BQM).
“The aircraft originated from Lagos, Nigeria. It’s currently unknown how and when the man was able to climb into the aircraft; an investigation has been launched.
Meanwhile, a preliminary report sighted by Saturday Vanguard showed that the Registration Number of the KLM Aircraft which operated into and out of Lagos on the night of Sunday, 16th April 2023 is confirmed to be the same PH-BQM according to operational records available at the Apron Control and AVSEC Aircraft Escort Units.
“The said KLM B777 aircraft landed on Runway 18L/36R at about 1951hrs of the said date and was escorted by AVSEC Escort Vehicle to the D34 Parking Bay at about 1957hrs.
“Once docked at the D34 AvioBridge/Parking Bay, KLM through its Security Service Provider, Messrs. PAJEDA Security, takes over the guarding of the Aircraft in accordance with the provisions of the Airport Security Programme. There were three PAJEDA Security operatives on duty at the KLM 587 parking area on the 16th April 2023,” the report stated.
On interrogation, one of the security operatives, Ibirinde Jamiu stated that he personally conducted the flight security checks at about 2208hrs using a ladder and flashlight during the flight’s ground operations without any adverse observation or report.
Available records show that KLM 587 with Registration Number PH-BQM departed MMA at about 2241hrs on Sunday, 16th April 2023.
The report noted that the Airport’s CCTV system is currently being interrogated to track the events of the almost 3-hours of ground operations of KLM PH-BQM at D34 Bay, in addition to other possible hypotheses. We are also working with KLM officials at the Airport to unravel the facts of the incident.
“A comprehensive report will be forwarded on further facts and findings made in the course of this investigation,” the report added.
NCAA commences inquest
In a bid to unravel the actual cause of the development, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has commenced an inquest into the discovery.
This was disclosed by the General Manager, Public Relations Department, Sam Adurogboye.
He stated that the investigation aims to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“NCAA will enhance its oversight over service providers in a bid to prevent such occurrences in the future. The outcome of the investigation will guide the next line of action,” he said.
Before now, thousands of stowaways have travelled by sea or land over the last several centuries. Fewer people have attempted to stowaway on aircraft. Many stowaways have died during the attempt.