Man who lived in Paris airport for 18 years dies there

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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An Iranian man who called the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris home for almost two decades has sadly passed away there, BBC News reports.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri first arrived at the Parisian airport in 1988, following his expulsion from numerous EU countries - including the Netherlands and Germany - due to not having the correct immigration documents. Mehran lived in Belgium for a time, before making the airport's terminal 2F home, per the BBC.

The late 77-year-old had originally planned to head to England and was set to travel there from France, however, he was unable to present proper immigration documents.

As a result, he was essentially stuck in limbo and unable to board a flight or leave the airport, according to CNN.

Mehran lived on a bench in the terminal, accompanied by trolleys that contained his possessions. According to multiple outlets, he occupied his time by journalling and reading newspapers.

So unique was his situation that Mehran caught the attention of Steven Spielberg, who eventually made a movie loosely based on Mehran's story in 2004.

Starring Tom Hanks, The Terminal follows the story of a man who is stuck in limbo at an airport terminal following a war in his home country. In the movie, the Department of Homeland Security has barred Hanks' character from either entering or exiting the United States.

Unlike Hanks' character, who stayed at the airport for several days, Mehran resided in Charles de Gaulle airport until 2006, despite being granted refugee status and the right to remain in France in 1999.

Le Parisien reported that Mehran had lived off the money he received for selling his story to Spielberg, spending the past few years in homeless shelters in Paris, before returning to his bench in terminal 2F several weeks ago. He was allegedly found with a couple of thousand euros in his pocket.

The French news outlet detailed how they had interviewed him in 2004, and that he was conducting up to six interviews a day following his newfound celebrity from Spielberg's film. "[I'm] flattered to see that [my] experience could inspire films," he was reported to have said.

Sadly, Le Parisien explained that despite being granted the ability to remain in France in 1999, Mehran - who referred to himself as Sir Alfred - refused to sign the documents.

"They are not in my name. I am no longer who I was. My name is now Sir Alfred Merhan and I am not Iranian. My father was Swedish and my mother, Danish," he had stated at the time. This decision left him stranded at the airport indefinitely.

Following his recent death, a spokesperson for the airport told CNN: "[The] whole airport community was attached to him, and our staff looked after him as much as possible during many years, even if we would have preferred him to find a real shelter."

Another airport employee told Le Parisien: "He used to sit in his seat, always in the same place, and wouldn't move. In front of him were his things in his cart. When ADP put a white sheet around the seat this afternoon, I understood that something had happened."

"I saw him downstairs every day [...] He was a person who was very calm, who posed no problem, but who did not speak to anyone," they added.

Featured image credit: hanohikirf / Alamy

Man who lived in Paris airport for 18 years dies there

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

An Iranian man who called the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris home for almost two decades has sadly passed away there, BBC News reports.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri first arrived at the Parisian airport in 1988, following his expulsion from numerous EU countries - including the Netherlands and Germany - due to not having the correct immigration documents. Mehran lived in Belgium for a time, before making the airport's terminal 2F home, per the BBC.

The late 77-year-old had originally planned to head to England and was set to travel there from France, however, he was unable to present proper immigration documents.

As a result, he was essentially stuck in limbo and unable to board a flight or leave the airport, according to CNN.

Mehran lived on a bench in the terminal, accompanied by trolleys that contained his possessions. According to multiple outlets, he occupied his time by journalling and reading newspapers.

So unique was his situation that Mehran caught the attention of Steven Spielberg, who eventually made a movie loosely based on Mehran's story in 2004.

Starring Tom Hanks, The Terminal follows the story of a man who is stuck in limbo at an airport terminal following a war in his home country. In the movie, the Department of Homeland Security has barred Hanks' character from either entering or exiting the United States.

Unlike Hanks' character, who stayed at the airport for several days, Mehran resided in Charles de Gaulle airport until 2006, despite being granted refugee status and the right to remain in France in 1999.

Le Parisien reported that Mehran had lived off the money he received for selling his story to Spielberg, spending the past few years in homeless shelters in Paris, before returning to his bench in terminal 2F several weeks ago. He was allegedly found with a couple of thousand euros in his pocket.

The French news outlet detailed how they had interviewed him in 2004, and that he was conducting up to six interviews a day following his newfound celebrity from Spielberg's film. "[I'm] flattered to see that [my] experience could inspire films," he was reported to have said.

Sadly, Le Parisien explained that despite being granted the ability to remain in France in 1999, Mehran - who referred to himself as Sir Alfred - refused to sign the documents.

"They are not in my name. I am no longer who I was. My name is now Sir Alfred Merhan and I am not Iranian. My father was Swedish and my mother, Danish," he had stated at the time. This decision left him stranded at the airport indefinitely.

Following his recent death, a spokesperson for the airport told CNN: "[The] whole airport community was attached to him, and our staff looked after him as much as possible during many years, even if we would have preferred him to find a real shelter."

Another airport employee told Le Parisien: "He used to sit in his seat, always in the same place, and wouldn't move. In front of him were his things in his cart. When ADP put a white sheet around the seat this afternoon, I understood that something had happened."

"I saw him downstairs every day [...] He was a person who was very calm, who posed no problem, but who did not speak to anyone," they added.

Featured image credit: hanohikirf / Alamy