A man was found traveling on a Scandinavian Airlines flight to the US without a passport.
The FBI charged Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava with being a stowaway.
Ochigava said he couldn’t remember how he boarded the flight without any valid documents.
A man flew to the US without a passport or a ticket — and managed only to get caught when he arrived in Los Angeles, according to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI on November 6.
Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on a Scandinavian Airlines flight from Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 4, per the complaint. At LAX, Customs and Border Protection officials found that Ochigava had no passport or visa. Officials also couldn’t find him on the passenger list for any flights.
Ochigava told an official that he left his US passport on the plane, per the complaint. The official attempted to look for Ochigava’s personal information on the CBP database, but nothing came up. Later, several officials searched Ochigava’s bag and found what appeared to be Russian and Israeli identification cards, according to the complaint.
Scandinavian Airlines said in the complaint that staff never found Ochigava’s passport on the flight. A spokesperson confirmed the incident to 404 Media but declined to comment further. “The matter is being handled by relevant authorities both in US and Denmark and we cannot comment any further. It’s the authorities who will have to give further details,” the spokesperson said.
FBI Special Agent Caroline A. Walling wrote in the complaint that no documentation noting that Ochigava had applied for or received a visa had been found.
Ochigava also behaved unusually on the plane, the complaint noted. The flight’s cabin crew told officials that Ochigava kept wandering around the plane and changed his seat several times, per the complaint.
Ochigava had asked for two meals during each meal service and tried eating the cabin crew’s chocolate, per the complaint.
Ochigava told the FBI that he had a PhD in economics and marketing, and had previously worked as an economist in Russia, per the complaint. He added that he had not slept for three days and did not know how he had boarded the plane from Denmark without the required documents.
The FBI charged Ochigava with being a stowaway on an aircraft, per the complaint. If convicted, Ochigava could be imprisoned for up to five years, according to the US Code.
Several stowaways have been found illegally traveling in recent years. In January 2022, a man survived a flight from Johannesburg to Amsterdam after hiding in a cargo plane. In July 2019, a man was found in the landing gear compartment of an American Airlines flight after it landed in Miami.
The FBI, Scandinavian Airlines, and Ochigava’s attorney J’me Forrest did not immediately respond to a request for comment, sent outside regular office hours.
Read the original article on Business Insider