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Stowaway Teen Survives Pacific Flight

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It seems unlikely that a teenage boy could survive a flight from California to Hawaii in the wheel well of a 767, but officials say surveillance video at both airports seems to confirm his story. The 16-year-old said he was running away from home when he hopped a fence and climbed into the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet at San Jose International. He arrived five and a half hours later at Maui's Kahalui Airport. "How he survived I don't know," Tom Simon, an FBI spokesman based in Honolulu, told the L.A. Times. "It's a miracle."

The boy, whose name has not been released, told investigators he lost consciousness shortly after takeoff, and woke up about an hour after the airplane landed in Maui. He emerged from the wheel well to the surprise of a "dumbfounded" ground crew, according to Simon. "It makes no sense to me," Simon said. A 1996 FAA report examined 10 reported wheel-well stowaway incidents, involving 11 people. Six stowaways succumbed to the cold or fell to their deaths. Five people survived. The cold, low-oxygen conditions may put them in a virtual "hibernative" state, the report said.

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