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

airplanes, in the news, behavior, discipline, family, issues, safety


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Kattey Kattey

I think he's a very lucky dumbass.

the4m... the4mutts

I want to hear more about this as the facts come out. He must have been desperate.

Most people know that it would be freezing, and life threatening to do something like this. Even a teenager should know that 30something THOUSAND feet in the air, it's freezing cold.

To risk his life with freezing temps, mechanical equipment, low oxygen.... that poor kid.

In a way, I hope he was just being a spoiled little prick. Otherwise, his life must be terrible. I would rather see a brat learn a lesson, than know he had suffered some horrid tragedy at home.

cherylam cherylam

Until you've had a horrible home life, where "running away" is the only way out a kid can see, please be hesitant with judging. I hope he gets some help where he is, and he realized how lucky he really is. If his home life is truly so bad he felt this was his only alternative, I hope the authorities step up & help him & his family.

balan... balancing-act

Emotions aside I don't understand why there are no charges. He breached all sorts of security and FAA laws. I'm sure glad he survived.

Nelli... NellieAthome

There are no charges for a variety of reasons ranging from there being no way to federally charge a minor to the local airport not pressing charges etc. To be honest, what would be gained by making a criminal out of a child who had to be desperate to think this was more viable than staying in his home.

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