A teen who authorities believe survived a flight from California to Hawaii by hitching a ride in the plane’s wheel well was on airport grounds more than six hours before the aircraft took off, a federal official familiar with the incident said Tuesday.
The 15-year-old boy jumped the airport fence in San Jose, California, shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, hours before Hawaii Airlines Flight 45 took off at 7:55 a.m., the official said.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, didn’t know when the teen climbed into the wheel well, but said the plane already was at the airport at 1 a.m.
Authorities said the boy came out of the wheel well of the Boeing 767 after it landed at the Kahului Airport on the island of Maui to the amazement of the ground crew.
The boy is in the custody of child welfare services workers in Hawaii, said Kayla Rosenfeld, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Human Services.