(CNN) – When the Air Force C-130J military transport aircraft landed at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, the ground crew discovered a terrible surprise.
“The body of an apparent stowaway was found trapped in a compartment above the aircraft’s rear landing gear, the deceased was an adolescent black male, possibly of African origin,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said. “At this point, it is unknown where or when the deceased entered the landing gear wheel well.”
Even the young man’s nationality is a mystery, heightening concerns about the serious security breach even further.
Officials say the plane left on July 19 for an eight-day mission visiting Italy, Senegal, Mali, Chad and Tunisia, although they won’t say in which order.
This much is known: military flights in some parts of Africa are routinely exposed to far less than ideal security. Recent YouTube video shows when an U.S. plane made an emergency landing in Uganda just last week, it was swarmed by local folks.
The latest incident is eerily similar to one just last month in which a Somali-American teenager survived after stowing away in the wheel well of a commercial plane that flew from California to Hawaii.
Also complicating the latest incident further is the outbreak of the deadly Ebola that is ravaging some African communities, again raising strong concerns about security.
“Laboratory results that were taken from samples from the body confirmed negative test results for communicable diseases, and the cause of death, as well as the other circumstances surrounding this incident, remains under investigation,” Kirby said.
Military officials say the young man’s presence did not make any difference in the handling of the plane, and he wasn’t even spotted during the initial post-flight inspection. He was only discovered when maintenance crews went over the plane more thoroughly later on.
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