WASHINGTON — The body of a teen stowaway was found and removed from a compartment above the rear landing gear of a U.S. Air Force C-130J cargo aircraft after it landed at a military base in Germany, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.
The fact that an unauthorized person managed to stow away aboard a military plane without being detected was a significant security breach.
The Pentagon's press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said the stowaway was a black male who may have been of African origin. He said the plane stopped in several African countries before it arrived Sunday at Germany's Ramstein air base, but he did not identify any of those countries.
Kirby said the body was found during a detailed post-flight maintenance inspection of the cargo plane. He said the body had been turned over to German authorities for autopsy, and the matter is under investigation.
Kirby said the cause of death had not yet been determined.
Lab results from samples taken from the body were negative for communicable diseases, Kirby said.
Kirby said it is not known when or where the stowaway entered the landing gear wheel well.
In April, a Somali immigrant survived a flight from San Jose International Airport in California to Hawaii stowed away in the wheel well of a Boeing 767 commercial airliner.
AP National Security Writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.