How in the world did this happen?

Plane to See

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, security at airports has stepped up dramatically so it's an utter mystery how a Russian man managed to travel from Europe to Los Angeles last month without a passport, visa or ticket, The Guardian reports.

Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava, the international man of mystery at the center of this strange tale, made the trip aboard a Scandinavian Airlines flight on November 4, according to The Guardian. He was carrying Israeli and Russian identification and a phone — and, deepening the mystery, says he has no idea how he ended up on the flight in the first place.

He first aroused notice from the cabin crew because he sat in a seat that was to remain unoccupied during the plane's departure from Denmark, the news outlet reports. During the 12-hour flight, he would also hop from one seat to another and attempted to talk to other passengers.

During meal service, he brazenly asked for two meals and reportedly almost ate the cabin crew's chocolate stash.

When he was detained in Los Angeles, he claimed he had left his American passport on the plane, but border officials looked over the flight manifest and couldn't find his name.

Flight Risk

Ochigava told the FBI he had been employed in Russia and has a PhD in economics and marketing, according to The Guardian. Ochigava, who's now facing a federal charge for being a stowaway, claimed to the FBI he does not remember the sequence of events leading to his flight to America.

Tellingly, The Guardian cites that iStories, an independent Russian news outlet, reported that a man also named Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava was the owner of a now-shuttered Moscow art gallery and has an economics degree from Plekhanov University, also located in the Russian capital.

Whatever happened, Ochigava may be in a legal nightmare, but at least he has his life. Other stowaways, to be clear, haven't been so lucky.

In 2020, authorities found a dead boy in the landing gear of an Air France plane that had flown from the Ivory Coast to Paris.

In a more gruesome incident in 2019, a stowaway on a flight from Kenya to London fell from the plane, landing just feet away from a man sunning himself in his South West London backyard. There was blood splatter all over the garden walls and yet "his body was an ice block."

In other words, stowing away into an airplane wheel well is dangerous because of the lack of oxygen in flight altitudes and the below freezing temperature. So if you absolutely must sneak onto a flight, maybe take a cue from Ochigava.

More on airplanes: Airline Apologizes for Forcing Disabled Man to Drag Himself Off Plane With No Wheelchair

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