UK & World News

  • 23 April 2014, 11:28

Stowaway Teen 'Was Trying To Get To Africa'

A teenage boy who survived five hours hidden in a plane's wheel well as the aircraft flew over the Pacific was apparently hoping to get to Somalia to find his mother.

The unnamed 15-year-old stowaway passed out during the flight from San Jose in California due to the high altitude - around 38,000ft, sub-zero temperatures and lack of oxygen.

He did not regain consciousness until an hour after the 767 jet landed in Hawaii.

His survival has been called "a bit of a miracle" and medical experts said it could have been because his body went into a hibernation-like state.

The youngster, who was living with his father in Santa Clara, had reportedly run away after a family argument and was trying to get to Africa.

He apparently ended up on a Hawaiian Airlines jet because it was the closest aircraft to the fence he had climbed over.

Surveillance video showed the boy walking on the tarmac and near planes in fenced and guarded areas shortly after 1am on Sunday.

The teenager, who speaks English as a second language, told police he got confused by the writing on the 767, according to reports.

FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu said the child was sleeping in the plane before it took-off at 8am.

He "literally just slept on the plane overnight,"  FBI spokesman Tom Simon said.

The incident has raised questions about how security at the San Jose site could have been breached.

After the plane landed, the boy was found wandering around the airport grounds in Maui, Hawaii, and was spotted by airline personnel, who informed guards.

He was disorientated, had trouble hearing and was taken to hospital.

Child welfare officials were arranging his safe return to northern California.

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