The body of a dead child was found in the landing gear of an Air France flight from Ivory Coast to Paris, according to local reports.
The airline confirmed in a statement that the “lifeless body” was discovered following a flight from South Africa to the Charles de Gaulle Airport. Flight AF703 took off from the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan earlier in the day.
Officials said the child hid beneath the Air France Boeing 777, near the landing gear compartment.
“The company expresses its deepest sympathy and compassion for this human tragedy. An investigation is underway,” the airline said in a statement, expressing its “deepest sympathy and compassion for this human tragedy.”
The person who died was reported to be around 10 years old, according to local media, although Air France would not comment on reports that the stowaway was a young boy.
A French police official said the victim was a young African who hasn’t yet been identified, and that an investigation is underway.
Such stowaway attempts are extremely rare, and nearly impossible to survive, the official said. French media reported that the victim was a child migrant, though the official said it was too early to determine the victim’s age. The official wasn’t authorised to be publicly named, according to police policy. No other information was immediately available.
Stowaways are at risk of extremely cold temperatures, oxygen deprivation and being crushed by retracting landing gear.
The body was found on-board flight AF703, which had left the west African country on January 7, Air France said.
A stowaway fell from a Kenya Airways flight as it was approaching Heathrow Airport in the UK over summer and his body was discovered in a garden in London.
His possessions were later found in the landing gear of the aircraft.
– with staff writers