Stowaway found in hell hole

PUBLISHED: 11:49 29 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:23 06 May 2010

The tiny compartment where the man hid

The tiny compartment where the man hid

AN ILLEGAL immigrant risked death by crawling into the engine compartment of a coach to get into the UK. The man, thought to be in his 20s and from Iran, crawled under a coach in Paris and climbed into a small space between the engine and the frame of th

The coach

AN ILLEGAL immigrant risked death by crawling into the engine compartment of a coach to get into the UK.

The man, thought to be in his 20s and from Iran, crawled under a coach in Paris and climbed into a small space between the engine and the frame of the coach.

He was left badly burnt and injured after the coach travelled its 10-hour journey from Paris to its yard in North Herts.

When the driver and staff were clearing away, on Saturday morning, they heard cries for help and water.

After checking the coach and lockers they still couldn't find where the voice was coming from.

Eventually they opened the engine and an arm fell out. The Landmark Coaches team, based in London Road, St Ippolyts, then contacted the emergency services.

It took three hours for the fire service to cut him out of the coach because the space he climbed into was so small.

Managing director Mark Blatchly said: "The heat and the noise in the engine would have been horrendous.

"He must have crawled into the engine at Paris when no one was about. He clung on for 10 hours.

"He was burnt and had become stuck. It is sad that someone was so desperate to get into the country. I have never heard anything like this before. The emergency services told us he would have died if he had been in there for two more hours."

On a weekday the coach would not have been taken into the yard and would have turned round straight away with a different team and travelled back to Paris.

"If he had climbed in there on a weekday we would have found a dead body in the coach."

The man, who spoke broken English, would only speak to the hostess. He spoke about his family.

A spokesman for Herts Police said the man had no documentation and he was arrested but taken to Lister Hospital. He has now been transferred to a London hospital.

Immigration officers are now investigating the case.

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