A 26-year-old man has been taken into custody after he was discovered alive in the landing gear of a flight from Guatemala at Miami International Airport (MIA).
In a video posted online by an Instagram handle Only in Dade, the unidentified man, dressed in jeans, a grey t-shirt and a jacket with a bag around his torso, can be seen sitting on the tarmac of the airport, after being apprehended by the airport authorities.
“This man arrived to MIA in the landing gear of plane from a Guatemala flight. The flight was about two hours and thirty minutes and witness says he was unharmed,” the post was captioned. It has since been viewed over 505,000 times.
In another video posted by the same handle, the man can be seen surrounded by law enforcement and medical services, who seem to be assessing him, as he is given water.
The flight, operated by American Airlines, was met by “law enforcement due to a security issues” after it landed in Miami just after 10am on Saturday. Later, officers from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended the man, who was attempting to “evade detection in the landing gear compartment of an aircraft,” a CBP statement said.
"Persons are taking extreme risks when they try to conceal themselves in confined spaces such as an aircraft," it added. "This incident remains under investigation."
Social media users expressed their surprise and relief over the news that the man survived the 1,000-mile journey at an altitude of over 33,000 ft.
“Incredible. Usually the landing gear crushes these people. Wheel wells typically have enough space for the gear and nothing else. *Inches* of free space,” wrote a user. “Hydraulics aside, 2.5 hours at 33,000 feet must have been... a near death experience? I’m not actually sure how he’s alive.”
“The aircraft on which this man is said to have stowed away, huddled in the wheel well, flew at 33,000ft, where air temperatures would have been minus 50C (minus 58F),” wrote another.
Other social media users called on the authorities to allow the man to stay in the US.
“Be thankful for what you have, look how desperate people are for a better life. I hope they grant him asylum,” wrote a user.