As aeroplane passengers get comfortable in their seats, belt up and prepare for take-off, below the planes, sometimes, daring individuals are usually also preparing for the journey, praying to survive their risky adventure.
These people are known as stowaways, who brave mechanical, physical, and climatic dangers, all to hitch a flight to their dream destinations, hidden away in wheel compartments of planes.
Kenyan Paul Manyasi is the latest stowaway to hit the headlines from such a failed attempt on a London-bound Kenya Airways flight in June.
Manyasi fell from the sky into a private garden and four months after his death, he hit the headlines once again after his alleged family denounced him following a Sky News feature.
According to aviation experts, almost all stowaways die during their daring adventures.
But not everyone is so unfortunate.
Surprisingly, children as young as ten have embarked on such escapades, braving hypothermia, low atmospheric pressure, and the risk of being crushed by planes’ moving parts, often for unworthy reasons.
In 1985, 10-year-old Keith Byrne and his 13-year-old friend Noel Murray made the escapade of the century by surviving a 5,000 Kilometre long Air India flight, from Heathrow Airport in Europe to JFK International Airport in the US.
The two adventure-mates, when finally apprehended in New York, said they risked their lives just to meet a character from a then-popular TV show, the A-Team.
According to their parents, the two boys were notorious runaways, having pulled such, but not as dangerous, stunts before.
In 2014, 16-year-old Yahya Abdi managed to sneak into the wheel compartment of a Boeing 767 plane, in a flight which at times hit altitudes as high as 38,000ft, during the five-hour-long journey.
Airport workers, who only saw him wandering around after the flight landed, said he looked dazed and confused, a condition which medics attributed to possible brain damage, caused by exposure to extremely low temperatures.
19-year-old Clarence Terhune made history as the first-ever known aerial stowaway, after sneaking into the wheel well of a plane flying from New Jersey to Germany in 1928.
Questioned by authorities, Clarence said that he risked his life merely to win a bet he had made with his brother in law.
The daring teen-only announced his presence below the plane when it was flying over the Atlantic, and luckily, the crew brought him onboard, although he was put on kitchen duty as punishment, and arrested once the plane landed.
12-year-old Bas Wie followed in Clarence’s footsteps in 1946, narrowly surviving a three-hour flight from Indonesia to Darwin.
Wie was found unconscious after the plane landed in Darwin, indicating that his could easily have been a tragic tale, had the flight taken longer.
He was also badly injured and had sustained burns from the plane’s exhaust.