Airplane Stowaways

Two Ethiopian cabin cleaners were found hiding in the ceiling of an aircraft after it landed at Dulles. Presumably they were allowed on the plane at Addis Abbaba, but no one checked to make sure they got off.

Posted on January 29, 2008 at 2:33 PM • 20 Comments

Comments

ScottJanuary 29, 2008 3:07 PM

DULLES AIRPORT, Va. (WUSA) -- Investigators are looking into what can only be described as a major security breach.

How is this a security breach?

Carlo GrazianiJanuary 29, 2008 3:25 PM

What Ethiopia clearly needs is their own TSA. I propose we donate ours to them.

Kevin D. S.January 29, 2008 3:39 PM

(from the article): ...The men went undiscovered for 36 hours, including a stop-over in Rome...

How in the heck did they go 36 hours without a restroom break? NASA piddlepacks?

Kevin D. S.January 29, 2008 3:50 PM

@ Scott
"How is this a security breach?"
Escalated privileges, perhaps? They had authorization to clean the plane but not to fly on it.

RobboJanuary 29, 2008 4:19 PM

How much room is there in the ceiling of an aircraft? I guess it beats being crushed by the wheels.

Careful - they may be trying to infiltrate the US long distance running team ...

shoobe01January 29, 2008 4:32 PM

> How much room is there in the ceiling of an aircraft?

Look the next time you are flying. The fuselage is round. Many widebodies are built with a normal height ceiling (so the lights and overhead bins are reachable), meaning a LOT of room above. Like, enough to walk around. But it depends.

However, like drop ceilings in offices, its not that sturdy. Not designed to hold the weight of people, so I wonder exactly where they were.

AnonymousJanuary 29, 2008 5:21 PM

> However, like drop ceilings in offices, its not that sturdy.

you couldn't walk around on it, but if you spread your weight over a large enough surface area and through enough supports it's not a problem...

AnonymousJanuary 29, 2008 6:24 PM

> How in the heck did they go 36
> hours without a restroom break?

Maybe that's how they were finally discovered?

AnonymousJanuary 29, 2008 7:27 PM

> How in the heck did they go 36
> hours without a restroom break?

And you thought that was condensation from the air conditioning dripping on your arm.

TSAJanuary 29, 2008 7:29 PM

> How in the heck did they go 36
> hours without a restroom break?

And you thought that was condensation from the air conditioning dripping on your arm?

MarkJanuary 30, 2008 5:42 AM

@Robbo
How much room is there in the ceiling of an aircraft? I guess it beats being crushed by the wheels.

There is plenty of room. This is also a pressurised part of the plane and quite possibly fairly warm.

j0hnner_caJanuary 30, 2008 6:03 AM

This is isn't the first story we've heard of this type of thing; people looking like support personnel or maintenance crews having complete access to the planes. They can do pretty much whatever they please. Tighter perimeter security could solve or at least positively address a bunch of problems - but I think it must be really expensive to implement right?

ShriJanuary 30, 2008 12:46 PM

And widespread implementation of RealID will prevent this kind of problem(TM).
Officers will have their UV lights handy to verify ID papers.

Insecurity ExpertJanuary 30, 2008 1:30 PM

"... a security expert told 9NEWS NOW, 'If you can store human bodies, you can certainly store a bomb or put weapons on board.'"

Good thing they could find a "security expert" to tell them that.

Joe BlowJanuary 31, 2008 11:43 AM

YEAH! This is great! I thought this was funny as hell. Human inginueity wins again! I am glad and pray only for their best. But, this discussion is on how, weight, more not less security, and so on. Where are heads? Remember there from Ethiopia. They probably only weight as much as most of us did in middle school and less than most of the average bag on board. More security is not the issue here. Niether is less. The gapping hole here is one that will never be plugged. The above situation needs tact not walls. It's a global service economy how else does something like this happen? Cudos on the TSA comment ;)

bobFebruary 1, 2008 6:49 AM

A coworker and I were once (pre-9/11) on a flight that changed in Pittsburgh. It turns out my new flight was on the same aircraft that I flew in on, but with a different flight number. All the pax and all the crew disembarked leaving the two of us sitting in our seats alone on the aircraft. The cockpit door was standing ajar, so having nothing to do and being a longtime pilot I went up there and was looking around, explaining the various things to my coworker. Then the oncoming crew was in the terminal, looked out the window and saw us in the cockpit and started having puppies. A flight attendant ran in and started yelling at us, asking what we thought we were doing. I remained where I was and explained out that I was merely showing him what the various devices were and that if they didnt like me being in the aircraft alone, they should not have all bailed out with me still in it.

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