Cuban woman ships herself to U.S. in hold of cargo plane
A Cuban refugee who hid herself in a small wooden crate arrived at Miami International Airport Tuesday onboard an all-cargo aircraft from the Bahamas, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
It is the second time in the past year that a stowaway has been discovered flying in the hold of a cargo plane, and critics are already pointing to the incident as another example of how U.S. air cargo security measures have lagged passenger screening.
Last year a man shipped himself from New York to Dallas on a cargo plane. In the absence of technology to screen the contents of most cargo, the government relies on a trusted shipper requirement that air carriers and forwarders only accept cargo from known persons or businesses with whom they have an established relationship.
The latest incident “underscores the urgent need to close a gaping loophole in our aviation security,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who has fought the Bush administration for legislation to require scanning of all cargo carried aboard passenger planes.
“We were lucky that this woman was a Cuban refugee, not an Al Qaeda terrorist,” he said in a statement.
According to the paper, workers at a DHL facility discovered the woman while unloading the crate from a plane. The express delivery company does not operate its own planes in the United States, but a spokesman did not identify the airline that brought the package to the United States. He said DHL is investigating whether any of its own security policies were violated.