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Boy Flies to Hawaii Hidden Inside the Wheel of a Plane

Teen stowaway hides in wheel well of plane to Hawaii

The story captured everyone's attention on Monday. And with good reason, too.

According to reports, an unnamed 16-year-old from California decided to run away from home Sunday morning, and apparently hop a flight to Hawaii. Except he didn't exactly log onto Kayak and scope out flight deals before booking. No; instead he jumped a fence at the San Jose airport and climbed right into the wheel well of the nearest plane he saw. There he remained for the entire five-hour journey to Hawaii, completely undetected.

When the plane finally landed in Maui, the teen hopped out and was said to have wandered around the runway a bit until he was spotted. His only possession at the time? A comb for his hair. It wasn't long before he was taken in for questioning and authorities pieced together what really happened.

"Our primary concern now is for the well-being of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived,'' a Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson later said.

And that last part is kind of an understatement. He's not just lucky to have escaped dropping to his death during the take-off, landing, or mid-air journey (during which the plane climbed to heights of 39,000 feet). He's also lucky he somehow made it through hours with barely any oxygen, and absolutely freezing temperatures. He was said to be unconscious for most of the trip.

"It sounds really incredible," aviation expert Jeff Wise told CNN. "Being in a wheel well is like all of a sudden being on top of Mount Everest."

At least for now, the teen appears to be recovering just fine, though there's no official word yet from his parents on the whole matter. According to the BBC, there have been around 100 stowaways who have reportedly hidden away inside the wheel wells of planes since 1947, when records first began. Sadly, nearly three-fourths of them have died.

Image via Chris Sigudono/The Maui News/AP

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