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Stowaway Survives Nigerian Flight

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A Nigerian teenager who survived a stowaway flight in a main gear well of an Arik Air airliner was captured after hopping onto the ramp at Lagos International Airport on Sunday. The flight from Benin to Lagos (153 miles) is a short one and the aircraft only reached 21,000 feet on the 30-minute hop, no doubt contributing to the survival of the boy. He later told police that he was fleeing mistreatment by his family. Whatever inspired him, he upped the ante on the already-risky maneuver by hopping aboard the aircraft on the runway.

Nigeria's Leadership newspaper reports the pilot of the aircraft (type unknown, but the newspaper shows a picture of a 737-700) called the tower to report the suspicious presence of a boy in the bush at the end of Benin's Runway 23 as he backtracked. Although passengers and crew spotted the boy running toward the airplane as he lined up for takeoff, the paper reports that he was assured by controllers that "the situation was under control" and cleared him for takeoff. Ramp attendants in Lagos grabbed the boy after he jumped down from the wheel well and handed him over to security officials. Arik Air Managing Director Chris Ndulue called on the Nigerian airport security organization (FAAN) to tighten up. “We are worried by the incessant security lapses at our airports," Ndulue said.  "We are appealing to the management of FAAN to immediately address the problem.”

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