France: boy found dead in landing gear of plane from Abidjan

He had hidden on Tuesday in the landing gear of an Air France Boeing 777 connecting Abidjan to Paris: the body of a young boy was found at dawn on Wednesday at Paris airport from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle.
The plane had taken off from the Ivorian economic capital on Tuesday evening and landed shortly after 05:00 GMT in Paris. The body, lightly clothed, was discovered less than an hour later in the landing gear well, according to sources close to the investigation.

An airline spokesperson confirmed the death of a “stowaway”, without specifying his age, and deplored a “human tragedy”.

The Bobigny prosecution indicated that it had entrusted the Gendarmerie des Transports Aires with an investigation to find the causes of death. An examination of the victim’s body, whose identity and age are unknown to the prosecution, was scheduled for Wednesday.

In Abidjan, an investigative commission headed by the National Civil Aviation Authority comprising “the different entities concerned” met Wednesday afternoon, according to Sidi Touré, the Minister of Communication and government spokesperson Ivorian.

“This is the first time that such an incident has occurred at our airport,” he said, adding that the investigation, including the examination of “video recordings”, will reveal “how this young man was able to end up there ”,“ what are the partners ”, in order to“ very quickly circumscribe this problem ”of airport security.

In recent years, several stowaways, including teenagers from Africa, have been found dead from the cold or run over in undercarriages.

In France, the last case dates from April 2013. The corpse of a probably minor boy, an unsuccessful immigrant, had been found in Roissy in the landing gear of an airplane from Cameroon.

Asphyxiation or cold

According to a source close to the investigation, the young boy found on Wednesday “died either by asphyxiation or from cold”.

Temperatures drop to -50 ° C between 9,000 and 10,000 meters, the altitude at which airliners fly. The landing gear housings are neither heated nor pressurized.

Laure Palun, director of Anafé (National Association for Assistance to Borders for Foreigners), declared to AFP to be “extremely shocked by this rare drama, fruit of the logic of closing and control of borders”.

In his eyes, “he questions the logic of European migration policies: when there is no legal migration route, people have to hide to reach the country they wish to go to, and that causes tragedies”.

For an Ivorian security source, “beyond the human tragedy, this indicates a major security breach at Abidjan airport,” she said, wondering how a child of ten years has been able to access a plane and if he benefited from complicity.

“As a pilot, I have already seen people several times along the runway, without anyone knowing who they are and where they come from,” testified a pilot of the flying club. Abidjan. The flying club is located inside the Félix Houphouët-Boigny international airport.

While Côte d’Ivoire, which lives under the threat of jihadist attacks, has one of the most dynamic economies in Africa with an average annual growth of 8% since 2012, illegal emigration to Europe is experiencing in recent years an unprecedented scale.

In 2017, 8,753 migrants aged 14 to 24 from Côte d’Ivoire arrived in Italy, including 1,263 women and 1,474 unaccompanied minors, according to the Center for International Volunteering (CEVI), an Italian NGO.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Migration Analysis Center told AFP that “over the past six years, eleven stowaways have been documented in planes” around the world , via a census launched in 2014 as part of the “missing migrants” project.

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