Teen Okay after Hiding In Wheel Well Of Jet Bound For Hawaii - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Teen Okay after Hiding In Wheel Well Of Jet Bound For Hawaii

Teen Okay after Hiding In Wheel Well Of Jet Bound For Hawaii

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Honolulu, HI - Stowaway Thought He Was Africa Bound

Friends say the 15-year-old, who became a runaway and then a stowaway, was unhappy living with his father and stepmother in Santa Clara,
and wanted to visit his mother in Africa. But, the teenager apparently had no idea the jumbo jet he hid on as a stowaway was heading to Hawaii.

Investigators say security video from San Jose Airport shows the teenager jumping a fence after midnight, Sunday. From there, he hops into the
wheel well of an Hawaiian Airlines jet and stays there for six hours before the plane even takes off. That raises many questions for security officials as the stowaway is hiding for several hours without anyone on the ground even noticing that he is there in the wheel well. The teenager is still in Hawaii as officials from Children Services plan to return him back home. It is still unclear whether the stowaway will face any charges for evading security and the hiding out and flying as a stowaway.

Runaway Stowaway Survives

Some are calling it, the Easter Miracle. How did a teenager who was trying to run away from home, stow away in the wheel well of a jumbo jet and wind up in Hawaii. Even though, the wheel well is not protected from the deadly cold of high altitudes, as we passengers are protected while riding in the cabin. The Feds say it could be freezing cold, maybe as low as 85 degrees below. Add to that, it is also not pressurized, meaning the air is thin, there is no oxygen to breath at 38 thousand feet.

The 16-year-old, who lives in Santa Clara, Calif., hopped out of the left rear wheel well of a Boeing 767 on the Maui airport tarmac Sunday, according to the FBI. Authorities found the high school student wandering the airport grounds with no identification. He was questioned by the FBI and taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was found to be unharmed. He passed out in the air and didn't regain consciousness until an hour after the plane landed in Hawaii, the FBI said. When he came to, he climbed out of the wheel well and was immediately seen by airport personnel who escorted him inside where he was interviewed by the FBI.

Federal investigators are now looking to see how the teenager jumped a fence at San Jose Airport, got past all the security checks  and stowed away in the wheel well. The TSA does not patrol the exterior of airports, such as runways and the perimeter with all its fencing. Usually, it’s the agency or the authority that oversees and operates the airport that is responsible for exterior security.

(FOX 11 / AP) Officials say a 16-year-old boy is "lucky to be alive" and unharmed after flying from California to Hawaii stowed away in a plane's wheel well, surviving cold temperatures at 38,000 feet and a lack of oxygen.

"Doesn't even remember the flight," FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu told The Associated Press on Sunday night. "It's amazing he survived that."

The boy was questioned by the FBI after being discovered on the tarmac at the Maui airport Sunday morning with no identification, Simon said.

"Kid's lucky to be alive," Simon said.

Simon said security footage from the San Jose airport verified that the boy from Santa Clara, Calif., hopped a fence to get to Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 on Sunday morning. San Jose police say they will be reviewing whether charges are warranted against the boy.

The child had run away from his family after an argument, Simon said. Simon said when the Boeing 767 landed in Maui, the boy hopped down from the wheel well and started wandering around the airport grounds.

"He was unconscious for the lion's share of the flight," Simon said. The flight lasted about 5 1/2 hours.

Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Alison Croyle said airline personnel noticed the boy on the ramp after the flight arrived and immediately notified airport security.

"Our primary concern now is for the well-being of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived," Croyle said.

A photo taken by a Maui News photographer shows the boy sitting upright on a stretcher as authorities get ready to load him into an ambulance.

Simon said the boy was medically screened and found to be unharmed.

His misadventure immediately raised security questions. A congressman who serves on the Homeland Security committee wondered how the teen could have sneaked onto the airfield at San Jose unnoticed.

"I have long been concerned about security at our airport perimeters. (hash)Stowaway teen demonstrates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed," tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who represents the San Francisco Bay Area's eastern cities and suburbs.

A Mineta San Jose International Airport spokeswoman said airport police were working with the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration to review security at the facility as part of an investigation.

"Our concern is with this young boy and his family. Thank God he survived and we hope his health is OK," spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.

Officials at Kahului Airport referred questions to the State Department of Transportation, which did not return a phone call seeking comment. A TSA spokesman who declined to be named referred questions to the FBI and airport authorities.

The boy was released to child protective services and not charged with a crime, Simon said.

In August, a 13- or 14-year-old boy in Nigeria survived a 35-minute trip in the wheel well of a domestic flight after stowing away. Authorities credited the flight's short duration and altitude of about 25,000. Others stowing away in wheel wells have died, including a 16-year-old killed after stowing away aboard a flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Boston in 2010 and a man who fell onto a suburban London street as a flight from Angola began its descent in 2012.

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