The bodies of two young men were found in the undercarriage or landing gear of an Avianca plane during a maintenance check at Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport (BOG).
According to the attorney general’s office of Colombia, the men were possibly from the Dominican Republic. The bodies were discovered on the evening of January 6, 2022.
“At its arrival to the El Dorado airport in Bogota, personnel from the airline discovered the bodies of two people who flew irregularly (stowaways) in the undercarriage of the airplane,” Avianca said in a statement seen by Reuters.
The airline expressed sympathy for the families of the two people and added that although it inspects airplanes before every flight, the security of airports and their restricted areas is the responsibility of authorities.
No identification documents were found with the bodies, but one the men was carrying currency from the Dominican Republic. A suitcase found alongside the men also contained paperwork that shows employment from the Dominican Republic.
“The technical investigation body of the attorney general’s office is carrying out urgent actions to identify the nationality and origin of the bodies aged between 15 and 20, Afro-descendent, which were found inside the airplane,” the attorney general’s office of Colombia said in the statement.
The bodies were frozen and had been partially thawed, the statement added, and one had burns.
The office also said that the discoveries suggest that the men could have been on the plane since January 3, 2022, the date when the aircraft was last in the Dominican Republic.
Stowaways rarely survive long flights and face hypoxia and hypothermia during the flights given the extreme temperature. One stowaway, who had a rare survival, hid inside the wheel well of a cargo airplane that traveled 11 hours from South Africa to the Netherlands.