Greener Pasture or Heaven’s Door: Meet Stowaway Who Survived in the Wheel Bay of a Flight from India to London

How best can we get into Britain must have been the question on the minds of two Indian brothers, Pardeep and Vijay Saini aged 22 and 18 respectively.

They could not afford to pay for a plane ticket to Britain, because Pardeep was just a car mechanic who barely scrambles to feed three times in a day.

Determined to get to the United Kingdom they had an idea, they would stowaway.

A Stowaway is person who hides on board a plane, train or ship in a bid to get free passage, but that of a plane is a decision between Knocking on heaven’s door or getting to the promised Land.

Pardeep and his brother Vijay opted to hide in the wheel bay of a Boeing 747 British Airways in Delhi destined for London in 1996.

Pardeep survived the ten-hour ordeal on the Boeing 747 but his younger brother Vijay, 18, died of hypothermia and his body fell from the undercarriage as the plane prepared to land at Heathrow.

Recounting his ordeal after another stowaway fell from a Kenya Airways jet as it came to land at London Heathrow last week, Pardeep said “I don’t want to remember it, it’s hard for me, to recall the memory. I feel sorry for the guy.”

He said he still can’t remember anything of the flight after he lost consciousness from a lack of oxygen.

Doctors think he survived by going into a state of suspended animation during the ten-hour flight.

It was revealed that Pardeep, had endured temperatures of -60C and was starved of oxygen, doctors believe Pardeep managed to survive because his body went into a state of suspended animation soon after take-off.

After the BA plane landed, baggage handlers saw him staggering on the tarmac, suffering from hypothermia.

Although he narrowly escaped death, his brother Vijay wasn’t very lucky as he was found deadt at a gas works in Richmond.

According to Pardeep, this had a lasting impact on himself.

In his words, “I was in a depression for six years. If the two of us died, then it’s one thing, or if both of us lived, it’s another story.

“But I lost my younger brother, he was like a friend to me. We grew up playing together.”

Pardeeps’s ordeal did not end immediately after his recovery, as he was threatened with deportation and was engaged in a protracted legal battle which ended in 2014, when he was finally allowed to stay in Britain.

He has since married and become a father to two sons, aged four and one. He lives in Wembley, North London, and is a driver for a catering company at Heathrow.

Pardeeps is just one of few other unusual plane stowaway survivors, how he survived a 4,000-mile flight from Delhi to UK at 40,000ft and -60C in jet’s undercarriage at all odds remains a mystery.

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