By Michael Evans.
A Chinese man attempted to enter the US by hiding in a crawlspace on a flight from Taipei to San Francisco, according to a report made public last week.
The man arrived in Taiwan on October 21 as a regular passenger on a flight from Shanghai, then hid behind a panel in an electrical closet while the plane prepared for its continuing flight to the US.
He remained hidden in the narrow space for the 16 hour, 11,0000 kilometer trans-Pacific flight.
By the time he left the plane in San Francisco, the man had successfully evaded a total of three security checks. But he was quickly apprehended when he tried to use a forged passport to go through immigration.
Despite this disappointing end, the man was luckier than many who attempt to stowaway on international flights.
On September 9, a man was found dead outside London’s Heathrow airport, with police concluding that he had fallen from an incoming plane while hiding above the landing gear.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, from 1996 to August 2012, there were 95 attempted stowaways on 84 flights around the world.
Most of those people sneaked into the wheel well of the aircraft. The FAA says 75.8% of those attempts resulted in deaths.
However the frequency of stowaways has declined in recent years as security measures have improved.
In 2010, six people were reported to have entered the US by hiding on an airplane. Last year, the number fell to only two.