By Shelby Odetto
Thur Apr 24, 2014
A fifteen-year-old San Jose boy who stowed away in the wheel-well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet was hoping to go to Africa to visit his mother.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the unidentified teenager scaled the perimeter fence of Mineta San Jose International Airport early last Sunday morning. He managed to bypass security and climbed into the wheel-well of the nearest airliner. He unknowingly climbed aboard Hawaiian Airlines flight 45 bound for Maui, Hawaii.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the boy was discovered an hour after the flight had landed walking the tarmac at Kahului Airport in Maui with no identification. The FBI was notified for security reasons.
Upon questioning, the teenager stated he was intending to visit his mother in Africa. The Santa Clara High School student currently lives with his dad, stepmom, and siblings in Santa Clara. According to Hawaii News Now, the boy is unhappy with the arrangement and decided to run away, choosing to stowaway in the first plane he saw after climbing the perimeter fence.
The boy survived the flight in spite of the freezing temperatures and elevation. He traveled 2,400 miles outside of a pressurized cabin at an altitude of 38,000 feet. Paramedics who treated the boy in Maui hypothesized that he passed out around 10,000 feet due to lack of oxygen. According to FBI representative Tom Simon, the boy does not remember any of the five-hour flight.
The ease with which this stowaway's plan was executed calls Mineta San Jose International Airport's security into question. When confronted with these concerns, airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes assured travelers that the facility "meets and exceeds all federal security requirements".
No criminal charges are being brought against the teenager. However, a social worker has been assigned to the case. At the time of this report, it is unclear if the boy's family is en route to Maui.