Teen Survives Flight to Hawaii in an Airplane Wheel Well


A teenager is lucky to be alive after stowing away in a dangerous part of a plane on a flight from California to Hawaii.

According to the Associated Press, after an argument with his family the unidentified teenager hopped a fence at San Jose International Airport. He then hid in the wheel well of a plane headed to Maui, Hawaii.

[A spokesperson] said when the flight 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 5½ hours.

That’s 5½ hours at 38,000 feet, with frigid temperatures and low oxygen. The FBI said the teen “doesn’t even remember the flight” and is lucky to be alive. No criminal charges were filed and the teen was to child protective services.

His misadventure immediately raised security questions. A Congressman who serves on the Homeland Security committee wondered how the teen could have snuck onto the airfield at San Jose unnoticed.
“I have long been concerned about security at our airport perimeters. #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 Agency to review security at the facility as part of an investigation.

Of course the incident has a hashtag and of course there’s already lots of jokes on Twitter about frugal air travel options (THOSE RIDICULOUS BAGGAGE FEES AMIRITE???) I’m sure it’s a lot more “fun” for people to debate whether or not this boy should be charged with some crime or mock him for his stupidity as opposed to actually discussing what was going on in his home life that he thought he’d be better off hiding in one of the most dangerous parts of a giant aircraft.

Image via AP Images.

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