This Sunday as a plane landed in Maui, Hawaii coming from San Jose, California, a 15-year old boy walked out on to Hawaiian Airlines landing field after apparently hiding behind one of the plane’s wheels for the duration of the flight; the New York Times said according to experts, the fact that the boy is alive is astonishing. “I just assumed that everybody who did this died,” Richard Marchi said, an airport consultant. He was said to have spent most of the night unconscious due to the lack of oxygen in the freezing wheel compartment. The boy, who had no identification on him, told officials that he had gotten into a dispute with his family and ran away from home which is in Santa Clara, California. “Officials have notified the boy’s family that he is safe,” the Office of Child Welfare Services said in a statement, according to the New York Times. Boeing, the maker of the plane, decided not to discuss the incident to avoid “…any information that might encourage such extremely dangerous and illegal activity,” a spokesman said. Though the boy did not remember how he got into the wheel of the plane, airport security cameras saw what seemed to be the boy climbing over the fence of the Mineta San Jose International Airport.
The New York Times found that since 1947, 105 people have stowed away in 94 planes worldwide according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The cold, low oxygen levels killed 80 of the 105 making the mortality rate 76 percent. The boy was among the minority who survived wheel-well stowaways.