A young Nigerian boy who managed to breach the security of the Benin-City airport and stow away to Lagos has been arrested and turned over to the Federal Airports Authority, reports Vanguard.
The boy, who has not been identified, hopped out of the main wheel of the Arik Air aircraft when it landed at Murtala Muhammed Airport.
According to Arik Air, their pilot reported to the air-traffic control tower that he had spotted a young boy in the bush at the end of the runway, but was informed that security was taking care of the situation and he was cleared for take-off.
“We had the sign in Benin-City when the plane was leaving,” said one of the passenger’s on the flight. “As it was moving slowly, we heard a loud noise as if the tyre crushed somebody on the ground and we all started shouting ‘Jesus, Jesus’. It means the boy was already inside that tyre compartment before we left.
“When we landed at Lagos Airport, the boy came out from the mail wheel, everybody started shouting. But talking seriously, this shows that we have a serious problem securing our airports.
“This is security breach, the passenger continued. “If that boy was carrying bomb, he could have succeeded in blowing up the plane.”
There were reportedly Edo State government officials on the plane.
Arik Air managing director, Mr. Chris Ndulue, described the incident as security breach.
Expressing shock over the teenager’s beating of security at the Benin-City airport, Ndulue said, “We are worried by the incessant security lapses at our airports. We are appealing to FAAN to immediately address the problem”. Narrating the stowaway incident, yesterday, in a statement, Communication Manager of Arik Air, Mr. Adebanji Ola, said the teenager sneaked into the aircraft main wheel of Flight W3 544, departing Benin-City airport for Lagos at 9.00am.
According to various sources, the teen was allegedly trying to make it to America.
Though stowaways are uncommon, they are far from unheard of.
As previously reported by NewsOne, an African man, who police believe to be from Angola, fell from the sky and landed in the Mortlake neighborhood of West London when a jet passing overhead lowered its landing gear as it neared the runway at nearby Heathrow Airport.
In 2010, the body of North Carolina teen Delvonte Tisdale, 16, was found in a Boston suburb after he breached Charlotte airport security and stowed away on a Boeing 737 jet. Eerily reminiscent of the unidentified Nigerian teen, Delvonte stowed away in the wheel well of the aircraft.
Tragically, he also died when the plane lowered its landing gear.