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Man flies from Europe to US without passport, visa or ticket — and can’t remember how he got there

Passenger tells baffled investigators that he can’t remember how he made the journey

Benjamin Parker
Wednesday 13 December 2023 07:04 GMT
Foreign man flies to LAX without documents

An investigation is underway after a man flew from Europe to the west coast of the US without a ticket, passport, visa or any record that he was on the flight – with the passenger claiming he’s “not sure” how he did it.

Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava, a Russian-Israeli dual national, departed Copenhagen on a Scandinavian Airlines flight and landed at Los Angeles International Airport on 4 November without any identification or a boarding pass, according to court documents.

In a further twist, officers at a customs and border check in California discovered he wasn’t listed on the passenger manifest for the flight from Denmark – or any other flights into the States.

The report into the incident states that “most” of the flight crew noticed Mr Ochigava because he “wandered around the plane and kept changing his seat”.

He also asked for two meals during each meal service, and “at one point attempted to eat the chocolate that belonged to members of the cabin crew”.

Crew members did not see his boarding pass and noted that the seat he first took during boarding was supposed to be an unoccupied seat.

“Some members of the crew conducted head counts for their specific sections, but only to make sure that the aircraft was balanced for take-off and landing. They did not tally the numbers up,” the report stated.

How the passenger was able to make it from Denmark to the US is being investigated by the FBI, with an agent confirming that the suspect – who has been charged with stowing away on an aircraft – is being held in custody, reports Fox News.

The agent who filed the complaint, Caroline Walling, wrote that Mr Ochigava claimed “he had not been sleeping for three days and did not understand what was going on.”

He “stated he might have had a plane ticket to come to the United States but he was not sure”, and “did not remember how he got on the plane in Copenhagen”.

He also was unable to recall how he got through security at the Danish airport, she added.

During his interview, Mr Oschigava allowed officers to go through the photos on his device. The most recent photograph in the camera roll was of “television screens displaying flight information for flights flying all over the world (including flights to Amsterdam, Munich, Lisbon, Malaga, London, etc.)”, the report states.

A Copenhagen Airport spokesperson confirmed to the The Independent that a man was on the flight despite not having a ticket or passport.

“We can see from our surveillance that he has entered without a valid ticket. Copenhagen Airport has provided photo and video material to the authorities who are investigating the case. We take the matter very seriously, and it will be included in the work we continuously do to adjust and tighten our guidelines to improve security.”

The airline also confirmed what happened but a spokesperson for Scandinavian Airlines said that the matter was “being handled by relevant authorities both in US and Denmark” and they could not comment further.

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