A man has managed to survive a flight from Cuba to the United States by hiding as a stowaway in the plane's cargo section.

Airline crew members discovered the Cuban man, 26, after the Swift Air private charter plane from Havana landed at Miami International Airport on Friday, local time.

US Customs and Border Protection said the ramp agent discovered the man as he unloaded luggage from the plane's undercarriage. The pilot of the plane then contacted police.

"Police! Police! Juliet nine, Juliet niner. Apparently, we just came in from Havana," the pilot said, according to Miami news outlet WSVN. "Apparently, we had a stowaway in the belly."


Witnesses said they heard what sounded like a dog in the cargo area before a man asked for water, Associated Press reported.

While the man managed to survive the risky journey, he wasn't able to avoid being swiftly taken into custody by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). A spokesman for the agency said the Cuban national would be processed as a stowaway under federal law.

"Individuals are taking extreme risks when they try to conceal themselves in confined spaces and CBP is trained and ready to respond with appropriate actions to prevent serious injuries or death whenever possible," Miami International Airport Port Director Christopher D. Maston said in a statement, Fox News reported.

"Teams of CBP officers maintain a robust posture regarding the enforcement of our immigration laws while facilitating trade and travel at ports of entry statewide."

The stowaway was identified as Yunier Garcia Duarte.

Last month a man fell to his death from a Kenyan Airways plane arriving over south London. Photo / AP
Last month a man fell to his death from a Kenyan Airways plane arriving over south London. Photo / AP

Florida's Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Herald said the stowaway, named as Yunier Garcia Duarte, was a worker at Jose Marti Airport in Havana.

The stowaway's stunt comes less than two months after an apparent stowaway died while falling from the undercarriage of a Kenyan Airways plane as it prepared to land at Heathrow Airport.

London resident John Baldock was in the back garden of his home when the stowaway's frozen body landed right next to him, which such force it left a crater in the garden.


Stowaways typically sneak onto flights by hiding in undercarriages of planes but risk death from lack of oxygen, freezing conditions at high altitude, or falling when the wheel compartment of planes open to release wheels for landing.

Only one in four plane stowaways survive the perilous journey, according to 2015 figures from the US Federal Aviation Authority, including a 20-year-old who hid in the undercarriage of a private jet and made it from Vienna to London in 2010.

Successful cases typically involve very short journeys when the plane is flying lower than usual cruising altitude.

According to Kenya's Civil Aviation Authority chief, the deceased man who fell from the plane probably had legal access to the airport.