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Stowaway Found Inside German Jet

November 9, 2000

MUNICH, Germany (AP) _ A stowaway was found hidden inside the undercarriage of a passenger jet that was forced to return to Munich after the pilot couldn’t retract the landing gear, police said Thursday.

The 27-year-old was unconscious and suffering from hypothermia when he was found Wednesday evening by a mechanic under the Berlin-bound Deutsche BA Boeing 737 jet.

The Romanian is registered as a resident of Berlin and has been seeking asylum in Germany. It was unclear why he had stowed away in the plane.

The man endured temperatures that dropped to below freezing for the 22 minutes before the plane landed again, but suffered no serious injuries.

He was arrested after being examined. Prosecutors were considering charges of endangering air traffic, police spokesman Hans-Peter Kammerer said. He could also be charged with violating laws requiring asylum seekers to remain in the part of the country where they were granted asylum.

The jet turned back after the flying crew realized they could not pull up the landing gear, Deutsche BA spokeswoman Stefanie Koall said. It wasn’t clear if the stowaway was responsible for the plane’s technical problems, but he was found in the landing gear compartment.

``It is a miracle that nothing happened to him,″ she said.

Airport and border control officials were trying to determine how he apparently passed through secure airport areas to sneak onto the plane.

Update hourly