DALLAS (Sept. 9) - A New York man trying to save a few dollars on his air fare is under investigation for stowing himself in an air cargo crate that was delivered to his parents' home near Dallas, authorities said Tuesday.
Investigators suspect Charles McKinley of taking a two-day, 1,500-mile trip from New York to Texas, with a stop or two along the way, hidden in a wooden crate.
McKinley was delivered at the front steps of his parents' home in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto Saturday in a box marked as containing computer parts. He was spotted by a deliveryman who noticed a pair of eyes staring at him through the wooden slats in the crate and then called police.
McKinley, from Brooklyn, apparently packed himself in the box -- perhaps with the help of a friend -- and sent himself air express on a flight that went from the New York area, with a stop near Niagara Falls, New York, to Fort Wayne, Indiana.
His crate was then sent to Dallas/Fort Worth airport on another plane and delivered to his parents' home.
McKinley told investigators, however, that he took a passenger flight from New York to Kentucky, where a friend who works in the air cargo industry helped to send him to the airport in Dallas, DeSoto police said.
Sources in the air cargo industry said it was lucky for McKinley that he was traveling in pressurized cabins with climate control, because he could have easily been killed if he flew in a cold, unpressurized compartment.
''He would have been cramped up in the fetal position in that crate,'' said Carl Smith, assistant chief of the DeSoto police.
Reuters 17:47 09-09-03