Russian school runaway survives flight in plane chassis

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A Russian teenager survived after stowing away in the chassis of a plane and flying more than 300 kilometres (200 miles) in his bid to escape from a state boarding school, police said Tuesday.

The 16-year-old, named only as Roman, ran away and climbed onto the AN-24 plane at a small airport in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, where he hid in a compartment around the aircraft's engine, regional police said.

A fellow pupil at the school in the town of Yerbogachyon alerted police about the stowaway, and he was met by police when the plane landed in Kirensk, some 390 kilometres to the south.

"The boy had signs of oxygen deficiency and frostbite," police said. After being examined by doctors he was to be sent back to the school.

Before the flight, Roman and the fellow pupil had robbed a store, police said.

The incident took place on October 29, but police only released a report on Tuesday.

Children from troubled families or with records of petty crime are often sent to state boarding schools in Russia. Sparsely populated villages in far northern Russia also send children to boarding schools in town.

Stowaways often meet a tragic end. In 2009, the body of a 19-year-old boy was found in the wheel well of a plane in Vladivostok after he stowed away in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in far eastern Russia.

© 2010 AFP

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