A Guatemalan stowaway, who hid himself in the landing gear compartment of an American Airlines plane, survived a flight from his home country to Miami, where he was turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and taken to a hospital for evaluation.
The unnamed 26-year-old man was found in the landing gear compartment of an American Airlines plane that arrived in Miami on Saturday at 10am.
CBP confirmed the incident in a statement initially cited by Miami-based television station WTVJ, which posted video taken of the man at Miami International Airport shortly after the plane landed.
The video, attributed to the social media page Only in Dade on Instagram, showed the stowaway appearing dazed but otherwise unharmed, sitting on the tarmac beside the plane - dressed in blue jeans, a T-shirt, jacket and boots - as ground crew personnel tended to him and asked if he wanted some water.
An unidentified Guatemalan man, 26, was hiding on an American Airlines flight on Saturday that arrived in Miami at 10am
He was hiding in the landing gear compartment to avoid being detected on the two-and-half-hour flight from his home country. The FDA reports he is one of 129 who have hidden in the wheel wells since 1947
'US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Miami International Airport apprehended a 26-year-old man who attempted to evade detection in the landing gear compartment of an aircraft arriving from Guatemala Saturday morning,' the CBP statement said.
'The individual was evaluated by emergency medical services and taken to a hospital for medical assessment,' the agency added. 'This incident remains under investigation.'
American Airlines issued a statement saying its Flight 1182 from Guatemala City to Miami arrived shortly after 10am and 'was met by law enforcement due to a security issue.'
The airline gave no further details, except to say it was assisting in the investigation. The Guatemala-to-Miami trip is a flight of just over two-and-a-half hours.
Guatemala has accounted for a large portion of some 1.7million migrants apprehended or expelled by US border agents over the past year, many of them Central Americans fleeing violent gangs and grinding poverty.
Immigration attorney Angel Leal told WTVJ the Guatemalan stowaway would be detained by CBP while facing an expedited removal order.
He was met with US Immigration when the flight landed in Miami and he was taken to the hospital for evaluation
The incident was reminiscent of footage in August showing desperate Afghans trying to latch onto the exterior of a Us military cargo jet as it taxied for take-off during chaotic evacuations from Kabul after Taliban forces seized control of Afghanistan. Separate video showed what appeared to be two people falling from the plane as it flew off from Kabul.
The Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment on Saturday's incident.
According to the FAA, 129 people have attempted to stow away in the wheel wells or other areas of commercial aircraft worldwide since 1947. Of those, the agency said, 100 have died of injuries or exposure.
In one such incident in April 2014, a 16-year-old boy who ran away from home survived five hours in the wheel well of a jetliner as it flew from California to Hawaii.