Stowaways

When I was young the notion of being a stowaway seemed a romantic one, with travel and excitement being the dream.  The word still conjurs up images of freckle-faced orphans sneaking up the gangways, clambering into life boats aboard glamourous ocean liners, taking rations from left-over room service trays and bathing in the swimming pools under cover of moonlight.

However, sadly this week I first heard about the practice of wheel-hub stowaways.  It seems these poor, desperate people literally stuff themselves into the hub of the aeroplane wheels in the hope they will be whisked away to a better world. Those who don’t drop out of the sky upon approach to an airport – unconscious because of lack of oxygen – simply freeze to death in the high altitudes with no protection.

This is not a new phenomenon, according to the article just re-posted here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19562101, between the years of 1947 and 2012 there have been 96 recorded aeroplane undercarriage stowaways with a miraculous 23 surviving their journey.

The Macquarie dictionary reveals a stowaway to be: one who conceals himself aboard a ship or other conveyance, as to get a free trip.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with the definition, it seems insufficient or even trite when used to describe the travails and risks endured by the wheel-hub refugees.

I can only begin to imagine the process involved in weighing up the risks of taking such a method of escaping to freedom, a false freedom for most, and don’t want to try to imagine the horror and pain of the families they leave behind and who often never learn of their plight.

On a lighter note, have you ever stowed away (on any type of vehicle); was it cause for pleasure or pain, and what did you endure?

Were you found out?

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Stowaways

  1. Bit different from the Shirley Temple image we had of the brave little stowaway. Poor souls won’t be rescued and adopted by a nice rich couple. Nice piece!

  2. Heavens, I’d never even heard of wheel-hub stowaways before! What a ghastly concept. It’s so sad that people are pushed to even consider such extreme actions to escape their homelands or whatever it is they’re trying to escape….let-alone plucking up the courage to actually do it!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic, or anything else on your mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s