Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BBC News: Frosty welcome for lucky plane stowaway

A 20-year-old Romanian man had a lucky escape after stowing away on a plane flying from Vienna to London.

The man hid himself in the rear wheel compartment of the plane which landed at Heathrow Airport on Sunday. He is now in police custody in London.

He had bruises and hypothermia from outside temperatures as low as -41C, Austrian media reported.

He managed to survive because the plane flew at a low altitude to avoid stormy weather.

The man apparently got under a fence at Schwechat airport in Vienna and climbed into the undercarriage of the first plane he saw without knowing its destination.

The plane belonged to a sheikh from the United Arab Emirates and had been standing empty on the tarmac at Schwechat airport since Thursday.

It flew without passengers to Heathrow, where the Romanian was picked up by police and arrested for stowing away.

He may be charged or fined or given a fixed penalty, the Metropolitan Police told the BBC. He will then be handed over to the UK Border Agency.

According to Austrian media reports, the man just wanted to get out of Vienna and look for work.

Romania is a member of the European Union, so Romanians can travel to the UK for holidays. However, controls on Romanians working in Britain remain in place.

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