Teen Who Hid in Wheel Well on Maui Flight Is Lucky to Be Alive

A 16-year-old boy took the idea of "running away" to the absolute extreme when he jumped a fence at a San Jose, California airport and stowed away on a five-hour flight to Hawaii. Authorities say the teen is lucky to be alive because he actually hid in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft -- where he passed out, possibly because of the lack of oxygen and sub-zero temperatures.


The chances of flying at 38,000 feet -- that's higher than Mount Everest -- for so many hours in such brutal conditions are so rare that one expert even questioned whether there was "more to the story" and if a "miracle" had taken place. The child was approached on the tarmac because he reportedly looked "dazed and confused." He told airport workers in Maui that he had crawled into the wheel well of the plane in California, passed out almost immediately, and crawled his way out of the cramped compartment when the plane landed in Hawaii.

Despite airport video footage that confirms the boy's tale, his story raised more than a few eyebrows. He isn't the first to try and hitch a ride in the wheel well of a plane, but he's certainly one of very few to survive the trip. The FBI is investigating to determine whether his story is true. The teen didn't explain why he ran away from home and was found carrying no ID and little else except for a comb in his pocket.

He wasn't charged with a crime, but he was placed with child protective services in Hawaii. 

I've heard of teens running away to make a point to their families, but I've never heard of anything like this. He really is fortunate, and I hope he's counting his lucky stars right now, has learned his lesson, and won't take such an outrageous chance again.

What do you think motivated this teen to do something as wild and dangerous as stowing away in the wheel well of an airplane?


Image via Simon_sees/Flickr

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