UK & World News

  • 21 April 2014, 13:15

Teen's Five-Hour Flight In Plane Wheel Well

A 16-year-old boy has survived a flight from California to Hawaii in the wheel well of a jetliner.

The teenager was unharmed during the five-and-a-half hour flight despite frigid temperatures at 38,000ft (11,500m) and lack of oxygen, the airline and FBI officials said.

"[The] kid's lucky to be alive," said FBI spokesman Tom Simon, in Honolulu.

The boy hopped down from the wheel well after Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 landed in Maui on Sunday morning on a flight from San Jose, California.

He started wandering around the airport grounds, and was spotted by airline personnel, who notified security.

The boy had run away from his family in Santa Clara, California, after an argument and jumped over a fence to board the flight, Mr Simon said.

He was unconscious for most of the journey.

Maui News said the boy was questioned by Kahului Airport workers and was cooperating with authorities.

"Our primary concern now is for the well-being of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived," Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement.

It added that airline officials and its contractors in San Jose were "ready to assist various government agencies in their investigation of this incident".

Others stowing away in wheel wells have died, including a 16-year-old killed after stowing away aboard a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Boston in 2010, and a man who fell on to a suburban London street on a flight from Angola in 2012.

However, in August, a teenage 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 an altitude of about 25,000ft (7,600m).

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