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Teen hides in wheel well of plane and survives 5-hour flight

stowaway 600A 16-year-old boy who had a fight with his parents is "lucky to be alive" after he stowed away in a plane's wheel well and flew from California to Hawaii surviving a lack of oxygen and cold temperatures at 38,000 feet and, the Associated Press reports.

"Doesn't even remember the flight," FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu told the Associated Press on Sunday night. "It's amazing he survived that."

Simon told AP that security footage from the San Jose airport confirmed that the Santa Clara, Calif., teen climbed a fence to get to Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 on Sunday morning.

When the Boeing 767 landed in Maui, some 5 hours later, the boy hopped down from the wheel well and began wandering the runway, Simon told AP.

Airline personnel noticed the boy on the ramp after the flight arrived and immediately notified airport security, Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Alison Croyle told AP.

"Our primary concern now is for the well-being of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived," Croyle said.

The FBI questioned the boy after he was discovered on the tarmac at the Maui airport Sunday morning with no identification. He was medically screened and was found to be unharmed and was seen sitting upright on a stretcher as he was being taken to the hospital. Simon told AP that boy was released to child protective services and not charged with a crime.

This isn't the first time that someone has taken an unauthorized flight in the wheel well of a plane. According to AP, in August, a 13- or 14-year-old boy in Nigeria stowed away in a wheel well of a domestic flight and survived a 35-minute trip.

Others have not been so lucky. In 2010 a 16-year-old was killed after stowing away in a flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Boston. And in 2012 a man died after he slipped from the wheel well and fell onto a suburban London street as a flight from Angola began its descent.

Read more at the Associated Press.


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