Shipping clerk's plan to send himself home in a crate just fails to deliver

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The Independent US

In a feat that easily trumps David Blaine's public incarceration, a homesick shipping clerk locked himself up in a crate and managed to get delivered to his parents' home.

Charles McKinley evaded security and travelled for 15 hours from New York to Dallas without food and water in an attempt to save money on his air fare.

The first time that anyone realised what had happened was when a delivery man saw a pair of eyes peeking out from the airline cargo crate.

"My husband asked him, 'What are you doing?' ... He said he was coming home," his mother told a Dallas television station.

Mr McKinley, 25, was arrested for unrelated offences and officials were considering further charges. But the cruellest charge was the $550 (£345) freight bill owed by his company that proved more expensive than the price of a first-class ticket. "He violated the law of stupidity if nothing else," said Bill Hill, a district attorney.

In a rambling interview from prison, Mr McKinley said that he made the trip because he was homesick and a friend thought he could save money by flying as cargo. He filled out shipping instructions saying the crate held a computer and clothes and only took a mobile phone on the trip. It did not work.

"I'm sitting there thinking, 'Oh God, I don't know why I'm doing this'," he said. "I'm sitting there thinking like any minute somebody will notice that there's somebody sitting inside this crate ... No one did."

It was loaded on to a pressurised, heated cargo plane that stopped several times before reaching Dallas. The stowaway claimed that he got out of the crate during flights and walked around.

A delivery man picked the crate up and took it the home of Mr McKinley's parents. When he went to unload the crate from his lorry, he saw a pair of eyes and thought there was a body inside. The freight company said Mr McKinley could have died.