Logistics And Frieght Forwarding

Baggage handler locked in cargo hold

A baggage handler was locked inside an Angola Airlines jet. Picture: Andrew W Sieber A PLANE was forced to make an emergency landing in Portugal after a baggage handler was accidentally locked in the cargo hold.

The Boeing 777-300 was about 270km into the journey from Porto to Angola, in southern Africa, when ground crew noticed he was missing. He was reportedly loading a box of passengers’ pets when he fell and was knocked unconscious, according to the Aviation Herald[1]. The TAAG Angola Airlines plane hit an altitude of about 10,600m before its rapid descent to Lisbon Airport.

At that height, temperature can be as low as -55C, and by the time the man was discovered, he was suffering hypothermia. He’s currently recovering in hospital. The baggage handler is not the first accidental stowaway to survive.

An Alaska Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles was forced to turn back in April last year, after passengers heard banging underneath the aircraft[2]. The worker reportedly fell asleep in the cargo hold prior to takeoff, which fortunately was pressurised and temperature-controlled.

An Alaska Airlines flight has been forced into an emergency landing after banging and screaming was heard coming from the plane?s the cargo hold.

For most, the ride isn’t so comfortable. In 2014, a 16-year-old American hid in the wheel well[3] of a flight from California to Hawaii.

The FBI said he was “lucky to be alive” despite the freezing temperatures and lack of oxygen, although the boy said he had no memory of the ordeal. Last year, an Indonesian man hitched a ride to Jakarta[4] by clinging to the landing gear. The 21-year-old was found staggering on the tarmac with a bleeding ear, later admitting to authorities he’d planned the stunt a year in advance.

Sometimes, hiding aboard is fatal.

In June 2015, a stowaway plunged to his death[5] on a flight from South Africa to London.

He fell out of the wheel well when the landing gear came down, crashing onto a shop as the British Airways jet approached Heathrow.


  1. ^ Aviation Herald (avherald.com)
  2. ^ passengers heard banging underneath the aircraft (www.news.com.au)
  3. ^ a 16-year-old American hid in the wheel well (www.news.com.au)
  4. ^ an Indonesian man hitched a ride to Jakarta (www.news.com.au)
  5. ^ a stowaway plunged to his death (www.news.com.au)

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