Officials said a 16-year-old boy from California is lucky to be alive after hiding in an airplane wheel well on a five-hour flight to the Pacific island state of Hawaii.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman said the boy ran away from home Sunday morning and climbed a fence at the airport in San Jose, California, before stowing away on the Hawaiian Airlines flight.
Marvin Moniz, an airport official at the plane’s destination 3,800 kilometers away in Maui, said personnel there spotted the boy on the tarmac.
“He wasn’t too cooperative or too communicative at that time, and security was called. Upon arrival of security, questions was asked to this juvenile, and like I said, he wasn’t too cooperative. We did have security bring him in, and he was questioned by TSA and also the FBI,” said Moniz.
The FBI said the boy was unconscious for most of the flight, and appeared to be unharmed after enduring the extremely cold temperatures and lack of oxygen at altitudes as high 11,500 meters.
A spokesman for Hawaiian Airlines said the boy is “exceptionally lucky to have survived.”