Two stowaways found dead in the landing gear of an Avianca plane

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This Saturday 7 January morning, the information was disseminated that two bodies had been found in the landing gear of a plane belonging to the airline Avianca, at the El Dorado airport, located in Bogotá, Colombia.

The aircraft in question, an Airbus A320neo registered N765AV, had on 6 January completed flight AV116 from Santiago de Chili to Bogotá, where it landed around 20:00.

According to a report from the Colombian Attorney General’s Office, personnel reported the two bodies without vital signs. “When carrying out the verifications, the presence of two bodies was found: subject 1, located in the right landing gear, and subject 2, located in the left landing gear,” they indicated.

The Prosecutor’s Office was able to determine the route made by the plane: on January 3, it was in the Dominican Republic (note by Aviation24.be: this finding does not correspond with the Flightradar24 data); on January 5, it reached Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo (Brazil), from where it returned to Colombia a day later. That same day it went to Santiago and in the afternoon, it returned to Bogotá.

The Prosecutor’s Office inspected the bodies at around 04:30 local time and indicated that, apparently, they are Afro-descendant men between 15 and 20 years old. According to preliminary information, the bodies would have been frozen and still had frost at the time they were found.

In addition, it was revealed that coins from the Dominican Republic were found among the belongings of one of them and, preliminarily, it is inferred that the bodies could have been in the landing gear since 3 January, according to the Colombian media. (Note by Aviation24.be: Again, this does not correspond to Flightradar24, since on that date, the plane flew to Rio de Janeiro and back to Bogotá).

Avianca issued a statement on Twitter in which it stated that it “regrets the situation presented on flight AV116 on the Santiago de Chile-Bogotá route, in which upon arrival at El Dorado Airport (at 19:55 on 6 January), airline personnel found the bodies of two people who flew irregularly (stowaways) in the landing gear of the aircraft that operated the flight“.

It added that “it extends its condolences to the families of these people and will be attentive to all the support it can provide in this sad situation.”

Regarding the security protocol, the airline noted that “Avianca, within its security processes, inspects the aircraft and its perimeter before the start of each flight. At the same time, airport security, control of restricted areas and perimeter control is the responsibility of the authorities. The airline is attentive to collaborate with the airport and local authorities to clarify the case, and that the necessary measures are taken so that events like these do not occur again,” the company concluded.

Meanwhile, the General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC) of Chile mentioned that the flight also made flights in Brazil and that background information is being collected.

Subsequently, in a statement they indicated that “the Colombian Aeronautical Authority was notified by the airline Avianca, of the discovery of two lifeless people, who irregularly flew on the landing gear of the aircraft of flight AVI16, coming from the airport Arturo Merino Benitez, Santiago, Chile“.

The DGAC ordered the compilation of all the background information on this situation to collaborate with the investigation to be carried out by the Colombian Aeronautical Authority and the Attorney General’s Office of that country, all to clarify the origin of these two people,” it added.

Source: Flightradar24 and Emol.com – https://www.emol.com/noticias/Internacional/2023/01/07/1083215/avion-avianca-hallazgo-cuerpos.html

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