Dead teen found in plane wheel well

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UPDATED: Dutch police launched a full investigation after a dead body was discovered in the wheel well of a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines plane at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport on Thursday morning. The flight departed from Oslo’s Torp airport, and Norwegian police believe the body is that of a 17-year-old boy reported missing from Larvik.

A dead body was discovered in the wheel well of a KLM Cityhopper plane after it landed at Amsterdam's Schipol airport on Thursday morning. The flight departed from Torp airport, and management is investigating whether the person entered the chassis there. PHOTO: KLM

A dead body was discovered in the wheel well of a KLM Cityhopper plane after it landed at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport on Thursday morning. The flight departed from Torp airport, and management is investigating whether the person entered the chassis there. PHOTO: KLM

“Police in the Netherlands have found an ID card (on the body) with the name and photo of a 17-year-old boy living in Larvik,” Merete Torp Nilsen of the Vestfold Police District told state broadcaster NRK. “Since we’re missing a 17-year-old in Larvik, we believe the body is that of the missing boy.”

The body was found around 8:15am on Thursday, reported Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, which speculated the person was a stowaway. “I can confirm that a dead person was found in a KLM plane,” airline spokesman Joost Ruempol told Trondheim-based newspaper Adressa. “Dutch authorities are now investigating the case, and we refer any further questions to them.”

Police initially released no details about the body. At first, the plane was incorrectly reported to have left from Trondheim’s Værnes airport. “The plane came from Torp, and Sandefjord police will take over the case,” airport manager Lasse Bardal said later.

“We received the message at a quarter past eight that one person on a plane from Torp had been found dead,” said Nilsen of the Vestfold police district’s Sandefjord investigative section. “We are checking, among other things, surveillance videos to find out whether the person came on board here.” Nilsen said they expected to be approached by Dutch police for assistance.

Videos later showed a person near the KLM jet around 3am, according to Nilsen, but no identity was immediately confirmed. The 17-year-old was reported missing Wednesday night, and police were investigating his disappearance. The KLM flight took off from Torp at 6:15am  Thursday, and police believe the person died from a lack of oxygen.

It was later on Thursday that Vestfold police said the body matched the description of the teenager reported missing on Wednesday night. While the autopsy had not yet been done and the person’s identity had not been confirmed, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported there was a “high degree of certainty” it was the missing 17-year-old from Larvik. His parents were notified.

Meanwhile, Torp airport began its own investigation. “We are currently going through all our security procedures,” said spokeswoman Tine Kleive-Mathisen. “All available video material throughout the airport and the area where the plane stood parked will be reviewed. In addition, we will talk with all persons involved.”

Kleive-Mathisen said the plane landed shortly before 11pm on Wednesday. She said perimeter fences had been checked on Thursday, and no indications anyone had broken in were found. “We also have regular inspections of the airport area of a night, and it is incomprehensible for us how someone has managed to get into the plane,” she said.

Torp’s chief executive Gisle Skansen said he did not know the details of the case, but as far as he understood, the body had been found by technical workers, not ground crew.

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate