A stowaway who was found alive in the nose wheel of a cargo plane that landed at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Sunday has been identified as a 22-year-old Kenyan man.
This was confirmed by the Royal Dutch Military Police which said the man plans to apply for asylum in the Netherlands.
“It is expected he will apply for asylum in the Netherlands, but his medical treatment is the priority at the moment,” a spokesperson for the Dutch Military Police told BBC on Monday.
The man is conscious and able to communicate, and currently receiving medical treatment at a hospital in the Dutch capital.
The flight operated by Cargolux Italia had flown from Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday, and made only one stop at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya. Flights from Nairobi to Amsterdam take at least seven hours.
It is rare for stowaways to survive long flights due to low oxygen levels at high altitudes and the cold.
Royal Dutch Military Police spokeswoman Joanna Helmonds told AFP that “it is quite remarkable that the man is still alive.” “This is definitely very unusual that someone was able to survive the cold at such a height – very, very unusual,” she said on Sunday.
Over the past five years, seven stowaways have been discovered on planes in the Netherlands, but only two of them were alive.
In February 2021, a 16-year-old Kenyan stowaway miraculously survived a 14-hour flight from Nairobi to the Netherlands via Turkey and the UK. The teenager was found in the wheel arch of a Turkish Airlines cargo plane that landed in the Netherlands from the UK and was rushed to the hospital with severe hypothermia.