FBI investigating how Russian man flew from Europe to LAX with no ticket, passport

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Tuesday, December 12, 2023
How did Russian man fly from Europe to LAX with no passport or ticket?
The passenger said he hadn't slept for three days and couldn't remember how he boarded the flight in Copenhagen with no passport or ticket.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The FBI is investigating a bizarre incident in which a Russian man flew from Europe to Los Angeles without a passport, visa - or even a plane ticket.

How exactly it happened remains a mystery, as the man claimed to be confused and couldn't remember getting on the plane or how he was able to get past security and board the flight without documents.

The federal complaint filed in Los Angeles charges Sergey Vladimirovich Ochigava with being a stowaway on an aircraft.

The FBI says Ochigava landed at LAX on Nov. 4 on a Scandinavian Airlines flight from Copenhagen.

When he showed up at the Los Angeles customs checkpoint, he had no passport or visa - and was not listed as a passenger on the flight manifest.

He initially claimed he left his passport on the plane but it could not be found. Authorities later searched his belongings and found Russian and Israeli identification cards. He is believed to be Russian, as he said he had worked as an economist in Russia and was provided with a Russian translator during his interview.

The flight's crew noted unusual behavior during the flight: Ochigava wandered around the plane and kept changing his seats. He also asked for two meals during meal service and at one point tried to eat some chocolate that actually belonged to the cabin crew.

The next day when he was interviewed by FBI agents, he claimed he had not slept for three days and did not understand what was happening. He also said he didn't remember getting on the plane in Copenhagen or how he got through security without a ticket.

The FBI said while aircraft crew members conducted head counts for their individual sections before the flight, those were intended to ensure the plane was balanced for landing and takeoff. It was only after the flight landed and the matter investigated that the airline discovered its passenger count was one person above the manifest.

The FBI says the investigation is still ongoing.

Ochigava is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Downtown Los Angeles and is expected to be in court later this month.