MIAMI — Authorities were seeking help identifying a stowaway who escaped from a passenger plane on Sunday evening at a Miami-area airport and dangled from the landing gear of the aircraft for 10 hours before catching a ride on a rental car.
Miami-Dade Police Maj. Diimell Robinson said the boy was found clinging to a section of the landing gear of a Delta Air Lines Airbus A330, and crews later retrieved the duffel bag he used to huddle in place. The device, which was left at the airport, caused a flap on the plane to open but there was no fire and no danger to the passengers, according to Robinson.
Robinson said police were searching for a family that the boy possibly came from, but he was ultimately found and reunited with his mother and father, who live in the Miami area.
Authorities originally thought the boy, whom Robinson called a “safe child,” had defecated on himself while hanging on.
“Nobody knew where he was at first,” Robinson said. “The flight attendants reported seeing him eat food, go to the restroom, and then about 5:30 p.m., they heard something swing.”
They took the bag with the child and their rental car to a police station, where technicians from an airport maintenance department recovered the bag. It’s unclear how long the bag had been hanging from the plane’s landing gear.
Robinson said the boy was dehydrated and hungry, but was in good physical condition.
The boy’s family picked him up Sunday evening and went to the airport to reunite with him. The boy’s name and nationality have not been released.
A spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue could not confirm reports that the boy slept on a couch at the airport for nearly 10 hours, but said the temperature was in the low 80s when he was found.
There have been attempts to smuggle items such as wheelchairs, computer parts and other items up the landing gear in the past. After an incident in Washington state in July 2017, federal authorities reported an incident in which they seized fake handcuffs from a man who was trying to smuggle a stack of brick-sized papers with numbers printed on them.
This article was written by Arti Patel, a reporter for The Washington Post. For more from The Washington Post, visit www.washingtonpost.com.