U.S. to send stowaway back to Ethiopia
Published: June 8, 2009 at 7:09 AM
WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) -- An Ethiopian man found hiding in the cargo hold of an Ethiopia-to-Washington flight is in federal custody, waiting to be returned to Ethiopia, officials said.
Baggage handlers at Dulles International Airport found the man, described as 36 or 37 years old, as they were unloading the Ethiopian Airlines flight during the weekend, The Washington Post reported Monday.
The stowaway was dehydrated and exhausted when found Saturday, Customs and Border Protection spokesman Steve Sapp said. A check of databases indicated the man didn't present a threat, Sapp said.
"He was just a gentleman who tried to travel to the United States ... illegally," Sapp said.
The flight originated in Addis Ababa and stopped in Rome before flying on to Dulles, Sapp said. However, he added, authorities are "pretty sure he got on in Ethiopia" and hid in the luggage compartment "the whole time."
Sapp said attempts to enter the United States illegally usually were arrivals by sea.
"We don't normally see too many people stow away on airplanes," he said, because of security precautions at airports designed to prevent unauthorized entry.