Cuba

Stowaway found on flight from Havana to Miami

Stowaway found on flight from Havana to Miami

A man was allegedly found hidden in the baggage area on a flight arriving to Miami International Airport from Havana
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A man was allegedly found hidden in the baggage area on a flight arriving to Miami International Airport from Havana

A stowaway was found early Friday on a flight that arrived at Miami International Airport from Havana.

A Miami airport spokesman confirmed to the Miami Herald that the man was found hiding in the plane and said he was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Customs and Border Protection said the 26-year-old Cuban man was found hiding inside the plane’s baggage cargo area early Friday morning and was refused entry.

Video shared on social media by @Srt_lex shows crew members and officers surrounding the man on the floor.

The Swift Air private charter landed in Miami just after midnight, according to the user.

Witnesses heard what sounded like a dog barking in the cargo area, but then a man spoke and asked for water, NBC6 reported.

The stowaway was identified as Yunier García Duarte.

El Nuevo Herald confirmed that he worked in the cargo area at José Martí Airport in Havana.

A phone call to his cellphone was answered by someone who identified himself as the head of operations at José Martí Airport. He declined to give details of what happened but said that an investigation by Cuban authorities is underway.

Yudeysi García, Duarte’s sister in Havana, told el Nuevo Herald that she was surprised to hear he had arrived in Miami.

“He hadn’t told us anything. Yesterday, he came, bathed, ate and then left to work like any other day,” she said. “I think it was a last-minute decision.”

He left his 2-year-old daughter in Cuba, she said.

Duarte is asking for asylum and said he has credible fear of being persecuted on the island if he’s returned, according to custom and border officials. Doctors said he’s in good health.

Swift Air did not immediately respond for comment.

El Nuevo Herald staff writer Mario J. Pentón contributed to this report.

Gulfstream Air Charter was finally allowed to land in Cuba, which hadn't authorized it before.

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Real Time/Breaking News Reporter. There’s never a dull moment in Florida — and I cover it. Graduated with honors from Florida International University. Find me on Twitter @TweetMichelleM
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