For stowaways – unauthorized undetected passengers who typically hide in the undercarriage of planes – death is almost always a certainty.
Any individual inside the landing gear compartment is exposed to a whole lot of probable fatal circumstances throughout an entire flight to make getting killed an inevitability.
The first compromising situation happens when the wheels retract not long after takeoff, in which a stowaway may fall off or get crushed.
Even if the stowaway somehow survives, the lack of oxygen during the flight will render anyone lifeless. A stowaway can also fall off onto the hard tarmac of a runway when the compartment reopens to release the wheels for landing.
On February 22, 1970, the life of a young boy named Keith Sapsford from Randwick in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia, ended tragically after he fell from the landing gear compartment of a Tokyo-bound passenger plane taking off from at Sydney Airport.
Keith had been an active teenager with a travel bug, eager to see the world. His eagerness and curiosity ended up killing him instead. He was only 14.
10 /10 Undeniable Sense Of Adventure
Not long before the tragedy, Keith had just returned from an around the world trip. It was a gift from his parents to satisfy his growing desire to visit faraway places.
The overseas holiday brought him joy, but at the same time, his craving for adventures got bigger.
Upon return, the parents quickly noticed that the trip only intensified his restlessness and seemingly unbound appetite for more travels.
The trip sparked an innate thirst for a sightseeing journey abroad. Keith’s desire to keep on the move would ultimately make him lie motionless forever.
9 /10 Escape From Boys' Town
When Keith was 14-year-old, his parents sent him to Boys’ Town Engadine (now known as Dunlea Centre) in a suburb in southern Sydney.
After just a few weeks in the residential secondary school, Keith was nowhere to be found on the premises.
On February 22, 1970, presumably three days after running away from Boy’s Town, Keith smuggled himself into the Sydney Airport and climbed the undercarriage of Douglas DC-8 bound for Tokyo.
After takeoff and at about 200 feet in the air, Keith fell from the plane when the undercarriage opened to retract the wheels.