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www.wmfd.com - A California teen will not be charged after he flew from San Jose to Hawaii as a stowaway. }}" />

   
 
 
Teen Stowaway Raises Questions About Airport Security

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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  Originally Published on: 4/22/2014

A California teen will not be charged after he flew from San Jose to Hawaii as a stowaway. Here's how he may have beat the odds and survived such a difficult journey. The ground crew noticed him wandering the tarmac in Maui, disoriented. FBI Special Agent Tom Simon says this 16-year-old boy claimed to have ridden to Maui in he wheel-well of a Hawaiian Airlines 767 all the way from San Jose, California. The airport spokeswoman in San Jose says: "He's a very lucky boy today." Officials have reviewed surveillance video and say the teenager was seen hopping the fence at the San Jose Airport, and walking across the tarmac, toward the Hawaiian Airlines plane. The Maui Airport has footage of him crawling out of a wheel-well. We went into the wheel-well of a 707, smaller than the 767's wheel bay. But security expert Rafi Ron was able to show us how he could've wedged in. "In the wheel-well, this center area here could be key, right?" asks CNN reporter Brian Todd. "Yeah, with the setup that we have here in the 707, this area here is probably the best location for him at this time, because that is where the space between the wheels would later on be positioned and that ensures that there will be slightly enough space for him to survive, and then he can improve his position once the gear is in," says Ron. Experts say if he did successfully stow-away, it's almost miraculous. The wheel-wells of passenger jets aren't heated or pressurized, they say at a cruising altitude of 30-to-38,000 feet, the cold air could have killed him. "At that height, you've got temperatures of around minus-45 to minus-55 degrees 'C'," says Lt. Col. Michael Kay (retired), a CNN aviation analyst. "Just to put that into perspective skin freezes almost instantaneously at around minus-44 degrees 'C'. A loss of oxygen at that altitude could have killed him, unless his metabolism slowed enough for him not to need much oxygen. The lack of security in San Jose is also being questioned in this case. Rafi Ron says the boy took advantage of a gap in the system. "Right now, many of our airports are not protecting the perimeter well enough to prevent an incident like this," Ron says. The airport spokeswoman in San Jose says that facility exceeds all security requirements and has an excellent track record. The TSA is assisting the airport in its investigation.

   
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