A Romanian stowaway hid in the undercarriage of a jumbo jet and survived temperatures of -41c at 25,000ft during a free flight into Britain.
The jobless Romanian citizen crouched in the rear-wheel compartment during an extraordinary 800-mile trip from Vienna to London on a Boeing 747 owned by the Dubai royal family.
Airport officials say the man could easily have been crushed by the plane’s wheels or killed by a lack of oxygen and was ‘incredibly lucky’ to be alive.
When the privately owned Boeing landed at Heathrow, the 20-year-old stowaway tumbled on to the runway and was arrested by security staff.
He said he had come to Britain to find work, was examined by paramedics but incredibly suffered only a few bruises and was fit enough to be interviewed by police and immigration officials.
Less than 24 hours later, he was released after accepting a police caution for being a stowaway and – because he is an EU national and proved his identity – was allowed to stay in Britain.
A police source said: ‘The plane would normally have flown at 37,000ft which would have killed him but it was flying lower because of thunder-storms.
‘This, and the fact it was a short-haul flight, meant he survived. He’s had a free flight and been released for his troubles. Welcome to England.’
The Romanian reportedly slipped under a perimeter fence at Vienna Airport on Sunday evening and made his way to a private jet owned by the Dubai royal family.
He told police he climbed into the wheel compartment of the plane, which took off at about 7pm UK time. One hour and 37minutes later, it landed at Heathrow.
Sources said the man fell or jumped soon after the aircraft touched down and was arrested at 8.48pm for stowing away on an aircraft, contrary to Article 143 of the Air Navigation Order 2009, which carries a maximum sentence of a £2,500 fine.
He was taken to Heathrow police station but because he was apparently of previous good character, he was given a police caution and released from custody at 2.47pm on Monday.
The man was carrying ID and immigration officials were satisfied he was Romanian and entitled to stay. Home Office sources confirmed there were no immigration issues and that the UK Border Agency was not seeking to deport him. Source: Daily Mail
Romanian and Bulgarian nationals are entitled to enter the UK as EU citizens, but do not have the same rights to work as the earlier Eastern European EU accession countries such as Poland.
See also: UK sees reverse in migration trend from EU If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: email@example.com or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk