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Teenager Stows Away in Airplane Wheel Well
Surviving the trip despite frigid temperatures, and making it halfway across the Pacific Ocean unharmed, the FBI says that a 16 year old teenager stowed away on a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Maui, Hawaii, all the way from San Jose, California.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, the chances of survival of a wheel well stowaway on a commercial aircraft are about 24 percent. The FAA has also reported that there are two cases in the past where stowaways have endured similar, high-altitude flights, according to a report by ABC News.
It has been reported that, the boy was questioned by the FBI after he was discovered on the tarmac at the Maui airport with no identification on him. He was then taken to the Maui Memorial Medical Center for treatment.
Most wheel well stowaways do not survive, falling victim to frigid temperatures and a lack of oxygen. It has been reported that, Trans Pacific flights usually fly at altitudes of about 38,000 feet, making it extremely difficult to breathe. Temperatures also drop to as low as 80 degrees below zero.
Fox News reported that, Tom Simon, an FBI spokesman in Honolulu told The Associated Press on Sunday night that “It’s amazing he survived that.” Officials say that the 16-year-old boy is “lucky to be alive.”
Some aviation experts are now questioning how the boy could have survived. Jim Nance, an ABC News aviation consultant, said that “Somebody surviving at 35,000 feet for five hours with no supplemental oxygen supply; I just don’t believe it.”
Peter Forman, aviation analyst, told Hawaii News Now that, “Within a few minutes up at that altitude, the person would pass out and usually they would not survive for hours on end up there so it just boggles the mind.” Peter Forman says that according to FOX News, “You would suffocate most likely up there. It’s extremely unlikely that somebody would survive that long at that altitude. And if they did survive, you would think that they would have frostbite and all sorts of problems associated with the cold up there.”
According to a report by the New York Post, other people who have stowed away in wheel wells have died; including a 16-year-old who stowed away aboard a flight from Charlotte, NC, to Boston in 2010 and a man who fell onto a suburban London street as a flight from Angola was descending back in 2012.
Image Credit: www.nydailynews.comTeenager Stows Away in Airplane Wheel Well by Jaan