TSA Fail: Teen sneaks onto commercial jet wheel well, falls from it, dies, is run over by two cars
Posted by Xeno on December 12, 2010
BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts prosecutor said Friday it’s likely that a North Carolina teen whose mutilated body was found in a Boston suburb fell from the sky after stowing away in an airplane’s wheel well. …
Investigators also discovered a handprint in grease inside the wheel well on the left side of a Boeing 737 that took off from Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 15, the night his body was found, Keating said.
“We feel it’s important to inform federal transportation safety officials that it appears more likely than not that Mr. Tisdale was able to breach ariport security and hide in the wheel well of a commercial jet liner without being detected by airport security personnel,” Keating said. …
“But if that was someone with a different motive, if that was a terrorist, that could be a bomb planted on there undetected,” Keating said. …
Tisdale was a member of the Air Force ROTC program at Charlotte’s North Mecklenburg High School. His father, Anthony, said the family had moved from Greensboro to Charlotte in the summer just so the teen could join that program. Anthony Tisdale said his son was happy in Charlotte and stayed out of trouble. …
Laura Attikou, Delvonte’s aunt, said her brother’s son was well-behaved and had a good life.
“The biggest mystery to me is how did he get on that plane? Where was security?” she said from her home in Greensboro, N.C. “We’re still at a loss. We’re still in shock.”
Keating said Tisdale was last seen by a sibling at home in North Carolina at 1:30 a.m. The flight he’s believed to have boarded took off at about 7 p.m. that evening, and investigators confirmed flight times and paths with the Federal Aviation Administration, he said.
Just before 9 p.m., a someone who lived near the address where the body was found heard a loud crashing noise, Keating said. At 9:30 p.m., Tisdale’s body was discovered without shirt or shoes by a group of college students in Milton, an affluent Boston suburb.
Keating said his office first tried to determine if Tisdale was a crime victim. The body was found after apparently being run over by a Jeep and then an Audi, and investigators found blood and tissue on the undercarriage of both vehicles. But Keating said there was no proof of a hit-and-run, Keating said.
He said police also interviewed family members in North Carolina without finding a “scintilla” of evidence of foul play.
Last week, detectives visited the Charlotte airport to take samples of grease used in maintaining the planes, to see it matched grease found Tisdale’s pants. (Those tests are pending) That’s when they found scuff marks and the handprint in the wheel well, Keating said.
Keating acknowledged it initially seemed like a remote possibility that a teen could sneak onto a commercial jet. …
The corpse of Delvonte Tisdale, 16, was found in a quiet neighborhood in Milton, Mass., Nov. 15, below a flight path to Logan.. At the risk of pointing out what is very much apparent: all the TSA’s invasive body-scanning and crotch-groping failed to prevent this. What if this kid was a suicide bomber stowaway, strapped with explosives? How did this happen?
…He would have most likely frozen to death as soon as the plane made cruising altitude as wheel wells are not pressurized…
…I have heard of of similar things happening to airplane wheel-well immigrant stowaways as well, but … those would usually be found frozen to death still in the well, due to the temperatures they’d get exposed to at the high trans-oceanic flight altitudes.
…Why in hell would anyone commit suicide by taking a bomb with them into a wheel well? It would be far easier to attach a bomb to the landing gear and go back the way they came.
…He’d pass out from anoxia long before he froze to death.
Strange way to go. Are there really people who believe you can get a free ride in a jet that way and survive? You’d freeze or suffocate to death before falling. If the jet stays low, due to bad weather, it is possible to survive, however.
… A 20-year-old Romanian looking for work hid in the wheel well of a jet in Vienna and survived a 90-minute flight to London, police said Wednesday.The man told British authorities that he crawled “under the wire” of the Vienna airport’s perimeter fence and climbed into the undercarriage of a private Boeing 747 parked near a construction site for a new terminal, Schwechat police chief Leo Lauber said.
Lauber said the jet belonged to a high-ranking sheik from the United Arab Emirates and took off from the Austrian capital Sunday night without any passengers on board.
After landing at London’s Heathrow Airport, Lauber said the man – who claimed he was looking for a job – apparently fell out of the gear’s compartment and was apprehended by police.
A spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police said the man was arrested and remains in custody at Heathrow. No information on his medical condition was released, but authorities said he was in a cell, not a medical facility.
Britain has restrictions on the number of Romanians working in the U.K., even though both nations are in the European Union.
Austria’s daily Kurier newspaper reported, without citing a source, that the stowaway may have survived because the aircraft flew “well below 10,000 meters (32,808 feet)” due to bad weather.