Whoever coined the saying “curiosity killed the cat” must have had felines who kept getting in trouble for their need to investigate their surroundings. Cats do whatever they please as one stowaway cat proved after being discovered in a military cargo plane bound for overseas. Indeed his curiosity would have killed him had he not been found on time since the lack of food and water would have been fatal. All the same, he is yet to be reunited with his owners, but even if he is not, there are more than enough people willing to give him a forever home. Read on to find out more about this cat and why even stowaway humans usually end up dying.
First time for everything
The Bangor airport had never carried an undocumented passenger in any plane until one stowaway decided it was time to explore on his own. The plane, a Boeing C-17 Globemaster, was based in Travis Air Force Base, California, and flew to Bangor, Maine, after making a stopover at Colorado Springs. Besides the assistant manager of operations, Amy, not knowing precisely when the staff spotted the cat hiding behind some crates, she also did not know where the cat hitched the ride. All the same, they are determined to help him get back home.
Unfortunately, a scan did not reveal any microchip, so it has become quite difficult to trace his owners. However, with social media available, the airport decided to use its Facebook page to alert the public about the feline. From its appearance, it belonged to someone; the cuddles it gave the crew members was evidence that all he wanted to be loved. Luckily, the Bangor Humane Society has sheltered him for the time being to rest his weary body. He caught a lucky break when he was discovered lest he would have remained on the plane for longer since it was bound for overseas. According to WABI, even if the cat does not get his family back, the pilot is willing to adopt him and has been continuously checking up on his furry friend at the shelter.
Cats have risked their lives as stowaways
One cat, Minou, in French Guiana, was used to hanging out on the wings of planes based at the “16-34 ULM Club,” where she was a mascot living on the food that the club members brought her every day. Unfortunately, her adventure went too far when she held on to a plane’s wings as it took off. Romain Jantot, who was training to be a professional helicopter pilot, discovered the cat when he was mid-air. To ensure that she did not jump to her death, Romain slowed down the engine after alerting the passengers also to avoid making big gestures. Minou calmed down, allowing Romain to drop her off safely before taking off again. As if unbothered by the fact that she missed falling to her death by a whisker, Minou was busy eating her food ten minutes after the drop.
Elsewhere, when crew members at the Independent Glass Distributors Ltd were unloading their 40-foot container, they noticed that the Styrofoam protecting the glass had chew marks. They joked that maybe a cat had made its way into the crates, and it was not until they had only two crates left to unload that they saw the cat that had chewed on the Styrofoam to survive. As the foreman told CTV News, the containers had not been opened since leaving Shenzhen, China; hence the cat had been there for the 25 days of the voyage. The cat was nicknamed “Stowaway” and was so emaciated that she only weighed 3 pounds. However, she was taken to an animal welfare agency, and kind-hearted people donated money to cover her medical expenses. Stowaway already had many people waiting to adopt her once she was fully recovered. Given the tough lesson she had learned about hitching rides, she will probably never try that again once settled in her new home.
Stowaway passengers that died
Plane tickets are quite expensive, and for those who cannot afford to travel but are impatient to accumulate the required funds, being a stowaway passenger is usually their last option. Unfortunately, such decisions usually cost them their lives, as has been witnessed in several airports. In 2019, a man’s attempt to move from Guinea, maybe in search of greener pastures overseas, proved fatal when his limp body was discovered in Morocco at Mohammed V airport in Casablanca. According to Mail Online, the passengers were shocked after learning of the incident with others wondering why the airport security was not vigilant enough to notice such people trying to be illegal immigrants.
In 2018, airport staff rushed to the runway after watching three objects fall off Latam Airlines’ flight XL1438. They thought the plane had lost some crucial parts, only to find one teenager lying lifelessly on the runway. Another teen was severely injured but died minutes later after being discovered. The two boys were cousins, and the police chief thought they had changed their mind after the plane took off and jumped, or maybe the mechanics of the aircraft forced them out, resulting in their death.
Why stowaways are likely to die
The Vane explains that once in the air, the air pressure drops faster as the plane climbs higher into the sky. Most planes that cover long flights fly as high as 36,000 feet, at which point the air pressure is only 225 millibars. At such an altitude, the oxygen level is much lower; hence, stowaways suffocate to death. Besides the lack of oxygen, at 36,000 feet, the temperatures are usually below -60 degrees Celsius, meaning that you are highly likely to freeze to death.
Even if you survive the cold, the frostbite you will have suffered will possibly cause damage to your organs, and your limbs could be amputated. On the other hand, even if you don’t die from suffocation or hypothermia, you will die from the fall once the plane is about to land. Anyone who hides at the wheel well of an aircraft will fall out when the pilot engages the landing gear since the bay doors swing open, resulting in a fatal fall.