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Subject: Chinese ID 2 Men Who Fell From Airliner

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Date Posted: January 30, 2003 5:44:21 EDT

Two men whose bodies fell from an Air France jetliner in Shanghai last week were identified Thursday by police as Turkish nationals with a history of stowing away in airline luggage holds.

Ramazan Karacoban, 20, and Onur Ozuyaman, 19, are believed to have been stowaways aboard the Air France flight, said police spokeswoman Fang Dinghua. She said they had a record of hiding in airline luggage holds and had snuck into France aboard a ferry a week before the Paris-Shanghai flight.

Fang refused to give other details, saying an investigation was still underway. Turkish diplomats in China and the Turkish Foreign Ministry have also declined to comment.

The two men fell from Flight 112, a Boeing 777, on Jan. 23 as it approached Shanghai Pudong International Airport. One crashed through the roof of a house, while the other landed in a field.

Footprints have been found in one of the compartments holding the jet's landing gear, said Air France spokeswoman Zhuang Ying.

The wheel wells have no heat and are unpressurized, suggesting the two men spent the 12-hour flight exposed to the thin, frigid air of higher altitudes.

State media reports said the bodies were frostbitten, a sign the men may have died before their fall.

While there have been repeated cases of people stowing in airplanes to emigrate to Europe, sneaking into China from Europe is unusual.

Officials had said earlier the men were wearing red uniforms, suggesting they might have been baggage handlers or part of a plot to penetrate airport security. State media reports said they were carrying walkie-talkies.

The newspaper Shanghai Daily said Thursday the two men might have boarded the wrong plane in Paris and were trying to reach a different destination. Flights within Europe last only a few hours.

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