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Teenager falls from plane into wood near Moscow

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MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - The body of a 17-year-old believed to have fallen from a plane has been discovered in a wood near Moscow's Domodedovo airport, a Russian tabloid reported on Monday.

Moskovsky Komsomolets suggested the teenager was trying to follow the example of a 15-year-old boy who recently survived a two-hour flight from the Urals to Moscow in a plane's wheel well.

A construction worker in a nearby village found the dismembered body in the wood, which is under the flight path of planes taking off from Domodedovo. Forensic experts said the cause of death was a high-altitude fall.

"The boy was ethnically Asian, and not more than 17 years old," police told the newspaper. "Unfortunately, we don't know who he is. Only a black wallet and a note with Moscow phone numbers were found on him. We called the numbers, but without results."

Another Russian tabloid, Tvoi Den, said the top of a birch tree at the site had broken off, along with a large branch. It quoted a police officer as saying: "Torn flesh and clothing were found under the broken birch. All flights on hang gliders or helicopters in the area are prohibited, but there are lots of planes flying."

Aviation safety expert, Valentin Nikolayev, said: "Even at an altitude of 8,000 meters people die of hypoxia - an absence or shortage of oxygen in breathed air. A living being cannot stand more than eight minutes in such conditions."

The boy probably climbed into a passenger plane's wheel well at Domodedovo airport, and would have risen to an altitude of around 10,000 meters, exposing himself to extremely low temperatures. Forensic experts said the boy had been dead at least two days when his body found in the wood.

In September, Russian media widely reported the flight by 15-year-old Andrei Shcherbakov from Perm to Moscow in a plane's wing. The boy apparently decided to flee home after a family argument. He hitched a ride to the airport, and climbed into a plane's wheel well.

After reaching Moscow, Shcherbakov collapsed onto the tarmac. His arms and legs were so severely frozen that rescuers were at first unable to remove his coat and shoes. Doctors said it was nothing short of a miracle that he survived the flight.

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