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AMERICAN MORNING

Human Cargo

Aired September 10, 2003 - 07:18   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now more on the stowaway story that we told you about earlier. Authorities are trying to figure out exactly how a New York man hiding in a crate was able to be loaded onto a cargo jet and then flown to Texas. The bizarre incident is raising alarming questions about airline security.
CNN Patty Davis has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aviation security officials say last Friday in the Bronx, Charles McKinley packed himself in a wooden crate, marked "Saturday special delivery," and had himself shipped across the country.

CHARLES MCKINLEY, STOWAWAY: I was just homesick, and it was time for me to come home for a little while.

DAVIS: McKinley traveled undetected in the pressurized belly of a Kitty Hawk cargo 727 from Newark to Buffalo. The crate was transferred to a second plane in Fort Wayne, Indiana, then on to Dallas, and by truck to his parents' home in DeSoto, Texas, shocking his mother, who didn't want her face shown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son pulled off a couple of boards with his hand and started getting out, and we were kind of stunned, too.

DAVIS: The deliveryman called police.

The incident spotlights what critics say remains a major vulnerability in aviation security: air cargo.

REP. EDWARD MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Today, it was just a guy trying to fly cheaply from New York to Dallas to visit his parents. But in the future, a member of al Qaeda could have himself packed into an air cargo container.

DAVIS: Interviewed in jail, where he's being held on outstanding warrants, McKinley is now having second thoughts.

MCKINLEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this was not a thing to do.

DAVIS: The FBI is investigating. McKinley could face federal stowaway charges.

Patty Davis, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: The freight cost which was billed to McKinley's employer was $550, and actually for that, if he had paid for it himself, he could have flown first class.

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