Teen Stowaway Survives 5-Hour Flight in Wheel Well

Officials amazed 16-year-old boy was unharmed on California-to-Hawaii journey

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 21, 2014 3:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – A 16-year-old boy who stowed away in the wheel well of a plane after a fight with his family is incredibly lucky to be alive after the California-to-Hawaii flight, authorities say. The boy made it through the five-hour flight unharmed yesterday despite freezing temperatures at 38,000 feet and a lack of oxygen, the AP reports. An FBI spokesman says the boy was apparently unconscious for most of the flight and he was taken into custody after being found wandering around the grounds of the airport in a disoriented state.

Security footage from the San Jose airport shows the boy hopping a fence before he climbed into the wheel well of the Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767, the FBI says. "Our primary concern now is for the well-being of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived," an airline spokeswoman says. The boy, who has not been charged with any crime, is now in the hands of Hawaii Child Protective Services officials, reports Hawaii News Now. The BBC in 2012 noted that Dr. Stephen Veronneau, with the FAA, had documented 96 cases since 1947 of someone stowing away in a plane's wheel well; more than 75% of the cases ended in a fatality.

The boy is loaded into an ambulance at Kahului Airport in Kahului, Maui, Hawaii yesterday.
The boy is loaded into an ambulance at Kahului Airport in Kahului, Maui, Hawaii yesterday.   (AP Photo/The Maui News, Chris Sugidono)
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