A 39-year-old Indonesian man was arrested for trespassing at Penang International Airport after he was found hiding amid the landing gear of a plane in a bid to fly home unnoticed on Monday morning.

A technician was conducting maintenance work on the cargo plane at about 10am on May 13 when he found the man in the landing gear section, The New Straits Times reported.

Officers from the airport’s security team quickly detained the man and handed him over to police.

Preliminary police inquiries suggest that the Indonesian, who arrived in Malaysia last September, was broke. He reportedly worked in a poultry processing factory but was not paid a salary for more than two months.

Unable to afford a flight ticket home to Medan on Sumatra Island, the worker got the idea to stowaway on a plane.

However, he could have been killed by hypothermia – the freezing cold – if he had succeeded in being a stowaway in the undercarriage, as temperatures can drop below freezing during flights.

The man is being held by the Southwest District Penang police for investigation under Section 7 of the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959.