Mystery stowaway 'feasted on plane food' after boarding without ticket or passport

By Isaac M December 13, 2023

A man who helped himself to double meals and tried to chat to passengers – despite allegedly having no passport or ticket – has claimed he cannot remember how he got through security.

The FBI has charged Sergey Ochigava with being a stowaway on the Copenhagen to LA flight, but the Russian has been tight-lipped on how he bypassed security in Europe.

Ochigava arrived in LA on a Scandinavian Airlines flight on 4 November but was not on passenger lists and has been locked up ever since.

Flight crew said during take-off he was in a seat meant to be unoccupied, and later switched places multiple times as he tried to speak to people – most of whom ignored him, according to the FBI.

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

Border officials found what appeared to be Russian and Israeli identification but no passport – apart from a partial image of one on his phone that didn’t show his photo.

A Scandinavian Airlines manager later checked the passenger list and realised the flight was “plus one”, according to the FBI.

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The bureau said Ochigava would not reveal what he was doing in Copenhagen and “claimed he did not remember how he went through security without a ticket”.

He also “provided false and misleading information about his travel” after initially saying he left his passport on the plane, the FBI said.

Ochigava has pleaded not guilty to being a stowaway and a trial has been scheduled for 26 December.


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