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More Insight Into How Teen Stowaway Survived Flight In A Wheel Well

More Insight Into How Teen Stowaway Survived Flight In A Wheel Well


Airdate: 04/22/2014

INSIDE EDITION is learning how the teenage stowaway was able to live straight from one of the few doctors in the world to treat another stowaway survivor.

Doctor Armand Dorian is Associate Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. In 2000, he treated a 20-year-old stowaway who sneaked into a frigid wheel well for a flight from Tahiti to Los Angeles, a flight that lasted seven-and-a-half hours in the air. The doctor says the young man's body temperature dropped to a shocking 79 degrees, which would normally be fatal.

Dr. Dorian said, "All the planets have to align. There are so many factors and so many reasons for him not to survive. In layman's terms, we always hear about this cryogenic freezing state, because you are so cold, your bodies metabolism super slows. Just like if somebody collapsed in the emergency, we would cool their body just to give us time to do a procedure. He, in this case, in this cold state, is able to survive."

In cryogenics, people are temporarily frozen in time as depicted in movies like Avatar and Alien


When the Hawaiian Airlines stowaway emerged from the wheel well, he looked relatively unscathed and that makes Dr. Dorian skeptical.

Dr. Dorian said, "The fact that he was walking maybe a little dazed and confused, I became a skeptic, because this guy was at 70 below with very little oxygen."

He's not the only one. Everyone's baffled by how the 15-year-old survived five-and-a-half hours in the wheel well of a Boeing 767.

Good Morning America said, "While it is certainly possible to climb these gears, the question is, where would you put a body, even a small teenage body?

CNN said, "There is nothing stupider in the world to do, but this is where you can do it."

One theory is that heat from the tires and wiring inside the well may have made the temperature more tolerable for the stowaway.

Seventy six percent of stowaways are killed.

We're also learning more about the teenager who ran away after getting into an argument with his parents. They live in a modest home in Santa Clara, California where he lives with three siblings and his parents. His father drives a cab.

Dr. Dorian said, "I would love to meet the guy because he is probably somebody we should be studying."


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