A teenager who stowed away in a wheel well Sunday during a Hawaiian Airlines flight from San Jose, Calif., to Maui was found to be in stable condition at Kahului Airport and was later transported to Honolulu for follow-up medical care, an ambulance company official said.
A medic examined the boy after an ambulance was called to the airport Sunday afternoon to transport the teenager to Maui Memorial Medical Center, said Jimmie Gamiao Jr., Maui County operations supervisor for American Medical Response.
"He was conscious and alert," Gamiao said. "He was relatively very stable. He didn't have any injuries. His main complaint was an earache. Other than that, he was pretty stable."
Hawaiian Airlines employees examine the wheel well of a Boeing 767 where a teenager stowed away during a flight from San Jose, Calif., to Kahului on Sunday, shortly after the flight landed and the boy was discovered. The hatch to the wheel well area is normally closed when the plane is on the ground but was opened so employees could inspect the area.
The boy, who is 15, was found on the tarmac by airport workers at about 11:30 a.m., officials said, after Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 landed. The Boeing 767 had left San Jose at 7:55 a.m. (PDT) and arrived in Kahului at 10:25 a.m.
Video footage at the Mineta San Jose International Airport showed someone walking on the airport ramp in the dark and approaching a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767, according to an airport security report.
The Santa Clara, Calif., boy told officials he had gotten into an argument with his family, ran away from home and climbed into a back wheel well of the plane for the 5-1/2 hour flight, Maui District Airports Manager Marvin Moniz told The Maui News on Sunday.
Gamiao said that the boy was transported to an Oahu hospital for follow-up care Sunday.
On Monday, the state Department of Human Services reported the teenager had been released to the department's Child Welfare Services branch.
"Officials have notified the boy's family that he is safe," according to a DHS statement. "The CWS branch will enlist the help of all necessary agencies to ensure the child's safe return to his home in California."
Both the FBI and San Jose airport officials said there were no plans to pursue criminal charges against the boy.
The San Jose airport and its security partners "are currently investigating all possible lessons from this incident in order to identify appropriate changes to the (airport) security program to improve it," according to an airport security report Monday morning.
Officials said that the boy was lucky to survive the flight, which reached an altitude of 38,000 feet.
Federal Aviation Administration research shows a 23.8 percent survival rate among 105 people who stowed away on 94 flights worldwide from 1947 to 2014. Of the 105 people, 80 died and 25 survived.
According to the FAA, the previous last known survivor of a stowaway incident was in August on a domestic flight within Nigeria. The last fatality was found at Washington Dulles International Airport in February. That flight traveled from Johannesburg, South Africa, on Feb. 12, and then on to Dakkar, Senegal, and landed at Dulles on Feb. 14.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.