Child's body found in wheelwell of US military aircraft in Germany
The body was found trapped in a compartment above the aircraft's rear landing gear, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
The aircraft had made one other stop in Africa and another in Sigonella, Italy, before arriving at Ramstein, Kirby said. It's unclear whether this child was a stowaway or where the child had boarded the plane.
The boy's body was found as maintenance crews conducted a thorough post-flight check typical of long flights, Kirby said.
"The cause of death as well the other circumstances surrounding this incident remain under investigation," Kirby said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the young man's family."
The aircraft had been in Mali on a regular mission.
Asked how a boy could have potentially sneaked onto the plane, Kirby noted that security measure at various airfields are not uniform.
"The aircraft is a rugged aircraft designed to operate in austere locations. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody that the security at some of these fields is not going to be at the same level," he said. "We shouldn't expect that the security environment in every location that these aircraft operate in will be at the same high standard."
German authorities will have the lead in the investigation, the official said. The U.S. Air Force is cooperating.