General Crime

A 16-year-old stowed himself away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight from San Jose, Calif. to Maui

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A 16-year-old Santa Clara boy is lucky to be alive today after he stowed himself away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight from San Jose, Calif. to Maui, Hawaii this morning, a Federal Bureau of Investigations special agent in Honolulu said. The boy ran away from home and hopped a fence at San Jose Mineta International Airport.

He then climbed into the wheel well of Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 to Maui, FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said. The teen lost consciousness for the flight due to lack of oxygen and remained unconscious for an hour after the plane landed at 10:30 a.m. in Maui, Simon said. An hour after landing the boy stepped out of the wheel well and onto the tarmac, according to Simon. Once on the tarmac, airport and security personnel approached the boy.

He was escorted off the tarmac and interviewed by police and FBI officials, Simon said. The stow-away told law enforcement officials that he had run away from home in Santa Clara. Simon said his story was investigated and checked out.

There was no indication that it was a hoax and the boy was deemed not to be a security threat. Simon was shocked that the boy survived the flight, passed a medical examine and was determined to be in good health. “It’s a miracle,” Simon said regarding the boy’s survival. The teen was released to Child Protective Services and no charges have been filed against him.

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