As a parent, stories like this send a chill up my spine.
A 16-year old boy sneaked onto the airport grounds in San Jose and climbed into the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight headed to Maui. Checking out flight status, it looks like this route is covered by a 767. The reported cruising altitude was as high as 38,000 feet and the boy was rendered unconscious. This isn’t terribly surprising considering the wheel well is not pressurized or air conditioned. The boy reportedly was sighted shortly after the plane landed walking haphazardly around the tarmac in Maui.
Stories of refugees from far away countries trying to stow away in a plane pop up from time to time, but those almost always end in the unfortunate report of their demise. How this boy survived for 5 hours with very little oxygen is pretty incredible. I can’t honestly remember a story where someone survived a 5-hour flight in a wheel well.
This CNN article states that 105 people have attempted the feat, with 25 surviving. But, it doesn’t detail how long those flights were.
Incredible is the best way I can describe my surprise when reading this story. If the facts bear out, that’s one lucky kid.