The lifeless body of an unidentified stowaway has been found in the main wheel well of one of Arik Air’s A330-200 aircraft at the Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg.
The airline’s public relations and communications manager, Mr. Adebanji Ola said in a signed statement that the Lagos-Johannesburg flight left the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in the afternoon of Tuesday, November 29, 2016 and arrived at the Johannesburg around 11pm.
“Engineers of South African Airways Technical facility at the Oliver Tambo International Airport where the aircraft was scheduled for a routine maintenance check discovered the body of the stowaway during inspection phase.
“Investigations are ongoing to determine how the stowaway found his way into the aircraft’s main wheel well,” he said.
It would be recalled that Arik Air has had a fair share of stowaway incidents on its flights since 2010.
On August 24, 2013, Edo State-born Daniel Ohikhena stowed away on the wheel well of Ari Air Flight W3 544 and landed at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos where he was arrested and later reunited with his family.
It was gathered that the lad thought the aircraft was bound for the United States, where, perhaps, he had hoped to fly to in order to escape the unseemly economic situation in Nigeria.
In 2012 the remains of a young man were found in the wheel-well of an Arik Air aircraft, Airbus A340-500 which returned from a flight to New York.
The identity of the man could not be ascertained as there was no form of identification on him when the body was discovered.
However, it was established that the body had been in the wheel well for more than a day suggesting that the stowaway could have originated from Lagos.
On September 20, 2010, the dead body of a stowaway was found inside the wheel well of an Arik Air aircraft that originated from South Africa. While it is not clear whether the stowaway’s fatal journey began in Lagos or South Africa it is safe to conclude that he was aided by an insider.
It was believed that an insider could have got him to the aircraft after which only a technician could have secreted him in the wheel well. The stowaway could have been a terrorist intent on blowing up the aircraft.