A 16-year-old boy stowed away in the wheel well of a flight from California to Hawaii, surviving the voyage halfway across the Pacific Ocean unscathed despite frigid temperatures, FBI and airline officials said.
FBI spokesman Tom Simon told NBC News the teenager was questioned by the FBI after Maui airport personnel found him on the tarmac without identification. After questioning, the boy was taken by child protective services, Simon said.
Simon said the 16-year-old is a runaway from Santa Clara, Calif., who stowed away aboard Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 on Sunday morning after apparently choosing the plane at random.
Chris Sugidono / The Maui News via AP
A 16-year-old boy who stowed away in the wheel well of a flight from San Jose, Calif., to Maui is loaded into an ambulance at Kahului Airport in Kahului, Maui, Hawaii on Sunday afternoon, April 20, 2014.
The FBI estimates the boy was unconscious for most of the flight, which reaches altitudes of 38,000 feet, according to Simon.
The boy was in good condition medically, Simon said, although he was disoriented when he was discovered by airport employees.
In a statement, Hawaiian Airlines said personnel "noticed the individual on the ramp after the flight's arrival and immediately notified airport security."
"Our primary concern now is for the wellbeing of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived," the airline said.
The boy will not be charged, according to Simon.
First published April 20 2014, 10:34 PM