Skip to comments.16-year-old California runaway survives flight to Hawaii in plane's wheel well
Posted on 04/21/2014 2:29:51 AM PDT by markomalley
A 16-year-old boy stowed away in the wheel well of a flight from California to Hawaii on Sunday, surviving the trip halfway across the Pacific Ocean unharmed despite frigid temperatures at 38,000 feet and a lack of oxygen, FBI and airline officials said.
FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu told The Associated Press on Sunday night that the boy was questioned by the FBI after being discovered on the tarmac at the Maui airport with no identification.
"Kid's lucky to be alive," Simon said.
Simon said security footage from the San Jose airport verified that the boy from Santa Clara, Calif., hopped a fence to get to Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 on Sunday morning. The child had run away from his family after an argument, Simon said. Simon said when the flight landed in Maui, the boy hopped down from the wheel well and started wandering around the airport grounds.
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Doesn't sound like a fun game to me.
TSA must have been preoccupied groping passengers and crowding around the see-through monitors.
“survives flight to Hawaii in plane’s wheel well”
How is it possible, just considering the temperature at 36,000 ft.?
That’s crazy. He was passed out most of the way, apparently.
Not to be believed.
I have to assume that there is some warm air exhausted through the wheel wells...maybe old cabin air?
The temp at 30,000 feet is 50 below zero. How long can one last at that temp?
I don’t know about this. There is no footage of the kid actually entering the wheel well prior to take off. 38000 feet and -50F for at least 4 hours with no thermal protection or supplemental O2? Could he survive for 20 minutes if he were blown out of an airlock in orbit?
That’s crazy, how the hell is he alive? 5 1/2 hours without O2? What is the percentage of O2 at 38k feet? It cant be that much!
Won’t be long and the gubmint will give somebody a grant to study how that could be possible. Of course, actual “hands-on”, personal experience would be a requirement. If you die trying you won’t have to pay the grant money back.
How did this kid survive? Look at this:
“The temperature gradually drops until you get to about 38,000 feet, where it’s about 75 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.”
So not only couldn’t he breathe, he was also frozen!
Air temp at 35,000 ft is -67F
“During World War II, most military flying was done in unpressurized aircraft at altitudes of between 20,000 and 25,000 feet. Most of the resulting anoxia deaths occurred in this altitude range.
Between 25,000 and 30,000 feet, collapse, unconsciousnes, and death quickly follow interruption of the oxygen supply.
Above 30,000 feet, unconsciousness and death strike rapidly and often without warning”
“Process and Results
Two reported cases of high altitude flight by stow-aways are detailed (Havana, Cuba to Madrid) and from Bogota to Miami. The cruise altitudes of these flights were in the 35,000 foot region with stratospheric temperatures at the (-) 65F range. Despite the lack of pressurization, or personal O2 equipment, the presence of warm hydraulic lines in the wheel-well and the initially warm tires provided significant heat. The stable climb of the aircraft enabled hypoxia to lead to gradual unconsciousness. As the wheel-well environment slowly cooled, hypothermia accompanies the deep hypoxia, preserving nervous system viability. With descent, and warming, along with increasing atmospheric oxygen pressure, hypoxia and hypothermia slowly resolved. At the ramp, with individuals were found in a semi-conscious state, and, upon treatment, recovered. Approximately a dozen copycat attempts have been made in 1993 with fatalities.”
Few yrs ago there was a stowaway from NC who fell out of the wheel well above Milton, MA, falling to his death
>>Authorities believe a 16 year old boy found dead last month on a Milton, MA street fell out of the wheel well of an aircraft. Last month, the suburb of Milton, MA, was horrified when the mutilated body of a teenager was found in the road. The body lacked identification, but was eventually found to be that of Delvonte Tisdale, age 16, from Charlotte, NC. The mystery of how he got there when he had been seen the night before in his bedroom seems to have been solved: authorities now believe he stowed away in the wheel well of an aircraft from Charlotte to Boston, and fell out as the airplane approached Logan airport.
At -50 one can survive indefinitely. If dressed properly, which is pretty unlikely for this kid. A bigger factor is the air pressure at that altitude, which is too low to support human life for long.
I don’t believe the story of him being in the wheel well and surviving. If anything he was in the baggage hold and they want to keep that under wraps.
WOW !!! what an intellectually vacant writer. Unbelievable
We need to give the TSA more money, better pensions and guns to solve problems like this... /sarc
The partial pressure of oxygen would then be:
760 * 0.21 = 159 mmHg.
So the amount of the atmosphere, in pressure, that a person could use at sea level is 159 mmHg.
At 36,000 ft., the total atmospheric pressure is about 20% that of sea level, so the useful amount of oxygen, assuming the same 21% of the atmosphere is oxygen at that altitude is:
760 * 0.2 * 0.21 = 31.92 mmHg
or just 20% of that found at sea level.
So? What does that mean... That this kid is EXTREAMLY lucky on several fronts: Not to have frozen solid, not to have a blood embolism from the rapid pressure change (The bends), and not to have suffocated.
So security footage verified that he hopped a fence in San Jose and then he was wandering around on the tarmac in Maui airport.
Is there any other way he could have gotten on that flight because it is hard to believe that he could have survived in that wheel well.
No way this happened.
If somebody can stick himself into a wheel well, he can also stick a backpack bomb into the wheel well. Heads should roll over this.
There are other cases of stowaways in wheel wells. It appears that the greatest danger is either being crushed to death as the wheels retract after take off or falling out of the wheel well during landing as the wheels are deployed when the plane is still several thousand feet in the air. If you are passed out during that time, it is likely you would fall into the ocean and never be found - so this might happen more often then you realize.
I can see why the airline industry would not want to publicize the fact that you could theoretically survive this as they do not want to encourage future stowaways.
The heat isn’t the issue, it’s the lack of oxygen.
Well I assume that once the wheels are retracted, the wheel compartment is sealed. Thus, there could be enough oxygen (and residual heat) to keep somebody alive for a few hours. There is no other reasonable explanation.
I agree this is the most likely explanation, especially the part about the authorities suppressing the true story.
An elaborate hoax? I have trouble believing this kid did this as he said.
Also, airlines would start selling them as economy seats.
The only explanation must be that I rode in an airplane wheel well.
Looks cozy, but where does the folding tray table come out?
Unbelievable, indeed. In addition to the effects or cold and hypoxia, wheel well stowaways are often turned into hamburger crunch by the wheel retraction mechanism...
You know they will insist that he was in the wheel well.
They see this in some stupid movie and try it themselves