American Airlines’ Saturday flight from Guatemala to Miami was discovered to have another passenger: A man who had been stowed in the aircraft’s landing gear.
A video posted on Instagram by Miami local social news site Only in Dade showed airport crewmembers apparently discovering the passenger after the plane arrived at the gate.
He was on American Airlines Flight 1182 at 10:22 a.m. ET Saturday. He was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Fearing he might lose his job, the maintenance worker who captured the video refused to talk on the record.
American Airlines released a statement saying that law enforcement had to stop the flight due to security concerns. “We are cooperating with the law enforcement to assist them in their investigation.”
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Samuel Orozco, a spokesperson for the General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics, Guatemala’s civil aviation authority, said the matter was still under investigation in the Central American country and could not provide further details at this time.
Dan Vasquez, a member of the content team at Only in Dade said, “We received this video and spoke to the person that took it, he was very scared and it is unbelievable that someone would survive this.”
Vasquez said, “Can you picture that type of wind pressure?” Vasquez said.
This incident recalls August, when hundreds of Afghan civilians clung to the wings of departing planes as the U.S. military evacuated Afghanistan. Human remains were discovered in the wheel well of a C-17 cargo plane that landed in Qatar after departing the international airport in Kabul.
Guatemala has become a major source for undocumented immigrants to the U.S. since the crossing of the border from South America. It was the largest source in 2019, as migrants were fleeing widespread government corruption, poverty and violence.
According to Pew Research Center this year Mexico is the country with the highest number of migrants arriving at the southern border. Honduras was second followed by Guatemala, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Follow Mike Snider Twitter @mikesnider.