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Man found dead in jet's wheel well at JFK

From Jonathan Wald
CNN


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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A man was found dead Tuesday night in the wheel well of a British Airways plane at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, authorities said.

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It is the second body found in the wheel well of a plane at the airport in less than a week.

The discovery comes at a time of a heightened terror threat alert level in the nation. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security asked that foreign air carriers have armed marshals on some flights in the United States when requested.

The body was discovered while the aircraft's first officer was conducting a routine examination after the plane's arrival from London's Heathrow Airport.

"The aircraft's first officer was conducting an examination of the plane when he was struck by a strong odor coming from the left wheel well," a law enforcement official involved in the investigation said.

The dead stowaway, a black male between the ages of 30 and 35, was wearing shoes and pants with some Nigerian currency in his pants pocket, the official said.

"The plane was in Lagos, Nigeria, on Christmas Eve, and we believe the man climbed into the wheel well while it was in Nigeria," he said.

Jim Peters with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said the body was found hidden in the wheel well about 7 p.m. ET, was removed immediately and taken to the medical examiner's office.

A British Airways spokesman confirmed that a body was removed from the wheel well of one of the airline's jets, but he declined to provide additional information and would not speculate on any possible breach of security.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Tony Ciavolella said the Boeing 747 flew to JFK from Heathrow as Flight 177.

The FBI, Port Authority, Queens district attorney's office and Transportation Security Administration are conducting a joint investigation, Ciavolella said.

On Christmas Day, the body of a man was found at JFK on an American Airlines flight from Jamaica.

CNN's Richard Davies contributed to this report.


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