Posted in U.S. & World News, Posted: Mon, April 21 2014 at 8:10 AM, Updated: Mon, April 21 2014 at 11:52 PM
Maui, Hawaii -- Some experts are questioning the story of a teenager who may have hitched a ride from California to Hawaii in the landing gear wheel-well of a Boeing 7-67.
Crews noticed the 16-year-old wandering the tarmac at Kahului airport in Maui; they say he was dazed and confused.
He claimed to have hitched a ride from San Jose, California. Hawaiian Airlines says the teen is exceptionally lucky to be alive, (if he truly did ride in the cramped compartment for almost five hours).
Several parts of the teen's story do check out. Investigators say they have surveillance of the 16-year-old hopping the fence at San Jose International Airport, having run away from home Sunday morning.
There's also video of him crawling out of the landing gear in Maui.
Still, experts are a bit skeptical.
"The odds of the person surviving that long of a flight at that altitude are very remote, actually. I mean, you're talking about altitudes that are well above the altitude of Mount Everest and temperatures that can reach 40 degrees below zero.
A lot of people would only have useful consciousness for a minute or two up at that altitude. For somebody to survive multiple hours with that lack of oxygen and that cold is just miraculous. I've never heard of anything like that before," says Aviation Analyst Peter Forman.
The FBI is investigating and the teenager hasn't been charged with a federal crime. At this point, he has just been placed with child protective services.