Russian-Israeli man is charged with being a STOWAWAY after he arrived at LAX without a passport, visa or ticket last month: Flight attendants say he sat in different seats, ordered two meals and tried to eat staff’s chocolate ‘but nothing seemed amiss’
- Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava flew to LAX on flight SK 931 from Copenhagen on November 4, requesting double meals and trying to eat staff’s chocolate
- He didn’t have a passport, plane ticket or visa and claimed he was ‘not sure’ how he got onboard the flight
- FBI agents searched his bags and found Russian and Israeli identification cards
A mysterious Russian-Israeli man flew into LAX on a Scandinavian Airlines flight last month with no passport, visa or ticket, and claimed he ‘was not sure’ how he did it.
Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava is now charged with being a stowaway as the FBI attempts to figure out just how he made it onto the flight from Copenhagen after he claimed ‘he did not remember how he went through security without a ticket’.
He was not a stowaway in the traditional sense – enjoying five-star treatment, eating double meal portions and even attempting ‘to eat the chocolate that belonged to members of the cabin crew’.
And when they were later quizzed by the FBI, airline staff said ‘nothing seemed amiss’ with Ochigava, although he had moved seats several times during the flight.
But there was one problem, he was not meant to be onboard at all. It was only when border staff at LAX found he didn’t have a passport that the alarm was raised.
Ochigava was only detected when border staff at LAX realized he didn’t have a passport, ticket or visa
Ochigava was not on the manifest for the flight SK 931, nor was he on the passenger list of any other international flight.
He had seemingly managed to evade international security and passport checks in Copenhagen, Denmark to get aboard.
He later told the FBI ‘he had not been sleeping for three days and did not understand what was going on.
An affidavit, written by FBI officer, Caroline Walling, said: ‘When asked how he got through security in Copenhagen, Ochigava claimed he did not remember how he went through security without a ticket.’
The affidavit added: ‘The crew noticed Ochigava because he wandered around the plane and kept changing his seat.
‘In addition, he 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.
‘The crew members did not see his boarding pass but did note that the seat he initially took during boarding (i.e., seat 36D) was supposed to be an unoccupied seat.’
She said staff did not detect there was an additional passenger onboard as although they counted passengers in each section to check the plane was balanced, they did not tally them up or check it against the flight log.
When the flight arrived at LAX, Ochigava disembarked as normal and presented at customs.
Staff onboard the flight told the FBI that nothing ‘seemed amiss’ with Ochigava and he even requested double portions and tried to eat their chocolate
But when he could not present a passport or visa, he was interviewed by the FBI, telling staff he had a PhD in economics and management and had left his passport on the plane.
But when a search failed to turn up the passport, he claimed he had not slept for three days and was not sure what was going on, or how he got there.
Walling said: ‘When questioned, Ochigava gave false and misleading information about his travel to the United States, including initially telling CBP that he left his U.S. passport on the airplane.’
Officers then searched his bag and found ‘Russian identification cards and an Israeli identification card’ as well as ‘a partial photograph of a passport.’
They also searched his phone and found a picture of the flight board at Copenhagen airport and ‘screen grabs from the ‘Maps’ app showing a hostel in Kiel, Germany, and street maps from an unknown foreign city.’
A spokesperson for Scandinavian Airlines told CourtWatch: ‘I can confirm there has been an incident where a passenger has been involved in the below scenario departing from Copehnagen with an SAS flight.
‘The matter is being handled by relevant authorities both in US and Denmark and we cannot comment any further. It’s the authorities who will have to give further details.’
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