Very, Very, Very Dangerous Stowaway Bid Fails

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A story from November 2004 supplied one of the better lead-in sentences of any story last year: “A Canadian man, angry that he was refused a plane ticket to Australia at Los Angeles International Airport, stripped naked, sprinted across the tarmac and climbed into the wheel well of a moving jumbo jet, officials said on Wednesday.”

The plane was stopped, which according to Qantas Airways spokeswoman Nancy Castles was a really good thing for the man: “This was an extremely dangerous thing for him to do. If he had continued to cling in there with the aircraft taking off at over 200 miles per hour, he might have fallen out and could have been sucked up by an engine.” Well, that’s true, but— “If he had survived that and was in the wheel well when the landing gear was retracted, he could have been crushed by the mechanism.” Yes, I see what you—”And if not he very likely would have frozen to death during the 15 1/2 hour flight at 30,000 feet while wearing no clothes.” Okay! Dangerous! Got it!

Ms. Castles did not mention the possibility that the man might have been dumped out of the plane’s wheel well when the gear lowered on approach to Sydney, fallen into the ocean, been eaten by a great white shark and then been excreted onto the sharp white coral teeth of the Great Barrier Reef.