Teen Stowaway Survives Flight To Hawaii In Wheel Well
Mystery surrounds the shocking claim by a teenager who says he stowed away in the landing gear of a plane that landed in Hawaii.
Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 from San Jose, California to Maui covered 2,300 miles and took five-and-a-half hours. At 38,000 feet, temperatures can fall to 81 degrees below zero. A YouTube video shows a wheel well like the one where the boy says he hid out. It shows how the landing gear retracts into the crampt space after takeoff.
ABC News' Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser says he wonders how the 16-year-old ever survived the journey.
Besser told INSIDE EDITION, "For someone to hide in a wheel well and survive, it's almost a miracle. Usually, you'll pass out within a couple of minutes, and then, you'll die."
See What Else Besser Told INSIDE EDITION
But experts say, the lack of oxygen and cold temperatures could have put him into a virtual "hibernative" state.
"Your body goes into hibernation, just like a bear. You shut down, so your heart may only be beating a couple of times a minute. You're barely breathing. Your body's needs go way, way down. And that might have led to survival," explained Dr. Besser.
There is evidence that supports the teen's story. The FBI says surveillance video shows him hopping a fence at the San Jose Airport Sunday morning. Another surveillance video shows him crawling out of the Boeing 767 when the plane landed in Maui. He was found wandering the tarmac "dazed and confused."
Marvin Moniz, Maui Airport District Manager reported, "He looked pretty good from what I could see. The young juvenile didn't appear to be dirty or all greased up from claiming to be in a wheel well."
Plenty of other stowaways have lost their lives. In 2010, another 16-year-old boy died after he fell out of the wheel well of a U.S. Airways flight that was coming in for a landing at Boston's Logan International Airport.
Former pilot John Ransom says the Hawaiian Air stowaway exposes a breach of security that should concern everybody.
Ransom told INSIDE EDITION, "From a security standpoint, it's very troubling that he was able to make it onto an airplane at an airport that has security procedures in place to prevent this. Given that he had unfettered access to the airplane, and given that he could have brought anything he wanted with him, yes, he could have brought down the airplane."