KEY POINTS

  • Child, reportedly 10, had hidden near one of the plane's landing gears
  • Allegedly snuck on-board before the plane departed from Abidjan, Ivory Coast
  • Undercarriage of the plane is not typically pressurized or heated, making it dangerous for stowaways

The dead body of a boy believed to be about 10 years old was found in the undercarriage of an Air France plane shortly after arriving in Paris, police said.

The child stowaway was discovered near one of the landing gears after an Air France flight had landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport around 7 a.m. Tuesday from Port Bouet Airport in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Air France confirmed the news Wednesday and called the incident a "human tragedy" 

“Air France confirms that the lifeless body of a stowaway was discovered in the well of the landing gear of the aircraft performing flight AF703 connecting Abidjan (ABJ) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle on January 7, 2020,” the company said. Air France also extended its sympathies to the family of the child.

Air France said it would not release the confirmed age or identity of the child until possibly after an investigation was completed. Paris police echoed those sentiments and said an investigation was already underway.

“Beyond the human drama, this indicates a major security breach at Abidjan airport,” an anonymous security official for the Ivory Coast told Agence France-Presse.

The area where the child was found is also reportedly a common area for stowaways to hide. However, it is also considered a dangerous and difficult place to survive long flights because it is not pressurized or heated. Oxygen levels can drop 75% when commercial airlines reach flight altitude and temperatures can be as low as -76 degrees Fahrenheit.

In July, a suspected male stowaway fell from a Kenya Airways flight that was on its way to London's Heathrow Airport. The body fell into a London garden within four feet of a person sunbathing.

The body of the child was found in the undercarriage of an Air France Boeing 777 after it landed at Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris The body of the child was found in the undercarriage of an Air France Boeing 777 after it landed at Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris Photo: AFP / Martin BUREAU