The L.A. Times reports that the 16-year-old from Santa Clara, CA, hopped a fence at Mineta International in San Jose and was able to secret himself inside the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet that was destined for Maui.
The FBI says that the hidden passenger was unconscious for most of the trip, and most likely blacked out around the time the plane reached an altitude of 10,000 feet. The transoceanic flight would reach altitudes approaching 38,000 feet before arriving at its destination.
Additionally, the plane flew through air with temperatures as low as 80 degrees below zero.
“How he survived I don’t know,” an FBI rep tells the Times. “It’s a miracle.”
The stowaway didn’t even wake up when the jet landed. He remained unconscious in the wheel well for another hour after touching down.
It wasn’t until after he hopped down onto the tarmac and was spotted by airport personnel that anyone became aware of his presence.
The teen is believed to be a runaway who intended no harm to the plane and he has not been charged. After being checked by medical staff, he was released to Hawaiian child welfare workers.
Even though this youngster was able to survive the ordeal, we don’t want cheapskate airline operators like Spirit’s Ben Baldaza or Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary getting it into their heads that they can start offering less-than-zero frills flights to passengers willing to wear extra layers and carry-on their own oxygen.