Body found in airplane wheel well at Tokyo airport
By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 41 mins ago
TOKYO – Japanese authorities said Monday they are trying to identify a body found inside one of the landing gear compartments on a Delta Airlines plane flight that arrived in Tokyo from New York.
The body of the apparent stowaway, identified only as that of a male with dark skin, was clad only in a long-sleeved, plaid shirt and jeans, police at the Narita International Airport said Monday.
A mechanic found the body lying inside the landing gear compartment of the Boeing 777-200 during maintenance after Delta Flight 59 from New York landed at Narita on Sunday night, police official Zenjiro Watanabe said.
"All we know is that he must have sneaked in just before departure, because it is impossible for him to enter the storage during flight," Watanabe said.
The body had no visible injuries except signs of frostbite, and the man might have died of hypothermia during the flight, Watanabe said.
The temperature in that part of the plane falls to about minus 58 degrees (minus 50 degrees Celsius) during flight.
Police are investigating the case both as an accident and a possible crime, Watanabe said.
"It's quite bizarre," he said. "I've never handled a case like this before."
Delta officials were not immediately available for comment.
There have been similar cases in the past.
In 2007, a man who appeared to be Asian and in his 50s, was found dead in the nose gear wheel well in an on a United Airlines Boeing 747 that arrived at San Francisco International Airport from Shanghai. He too was thought to be a stowaway.