Yesterday the banner front page headline in the London newspaper, The Evening Standard, was STOWAWAY’S ROYAL JET TO HEATHROW.
It transpires that a 20 year old Romanian man had slipped through a wire fence in Vienna on Sunday 6 June and climbed up into the landing gear of the plane. He’d chosen the first plane he could get to - a private jet belonging to the Dubai royal family - without knowing its destination. The flight took 97 minutes and, because of bad weather conditions, it flew at much lower altitudes than normal - 25,000 feet instead of 37,000 feet. He has no injuries. Today the Standard is reporting that he has ‘vanished’. He was not arrested, and, as an EU resident, he’s allowed to entry to the UK.
I wonder what the circumstances were for this young man. Was it simply that he wanted to leave Romania but couldn’t afford the airfare, and had heard that you could stowaway inside a plane by climbing up through the landing gear? Or was he desperate to get away from something? How desperate and/or ill-informed would you have to be to consider stowing away on an airplane like this? Did he think he’d be able to climb inside the airplane? Or did he think that he’d be able to tuck himself away behind the landing gear and ride all the way to the plane’s destination without getting inside the plane. He was so lucky in so many ways with this journey - only 97 minutes, flying at much lower altitudes than normal - what can that 97 minutes in the air have been like?
All fascinating stuff for me and my project Flight Paths, and the new book I’m currently attempting to start writing.