Teen Claims He Survived Improbable Stowaway Attempt

16-year-old hid in the plane's wheel-well for the duration of the flight.
9:31 | 04/21/14

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Teen Claims He Survived Improbable Stowaway Attempt
This is a special room. I'm -- -- for -- New York. With this ABC news digital special report lucky to be alive a runaway teen somehow survived an extreme conditions. 38000. Feet in the -- stow away. In the wheel well of a plane on a flight from San Jose to Hawaii. Knicks met for a Sampras has -- -- kgo has more and it seems miraculous five hour flight that something is more. Fiction than fact -- And officials here at the airport and the FBI are looking into exactly what happened. They have questions around airport security and -- a sixteen year old may have managed to avoid detection by professionals. Aboard a flight. It took him 38000 feet into the air and lasted more than five -- -- you start thinking on the giving us. They didn't see anything apparently not. Officials -- Mineta San Jose didn't have much to share when asked how a sixteen year old -- skilled at six and of this Vince. Avoided being sliced by barbed wire made his way across the tarmac and six. -- -- -- -- -- -- well above playing ball without being stopped or spot. Every system every program is not 100%. And it appears this teenager did scale -- section of our perimeter -- under cover of darkness and remain -- detect. Dead -- noticed a six year old wandering the tarmac in -- They say he was dazed and confused the team claimed to have hitched -- ride from San Jose aboard -- -- airlines jet. Officials say he is exceptionally lucky to be alive if he truly did ride in the cramped compartment for almost five hours at an altitude of 38000 feet. Several parts of the -- story -- check out. Investigators say they have surveillance video of the sixteen year old pop -- -- -- everything at national airport had to run away from home Sunday morning. There's also video from falling out of the landing here in -- and power but the flight landed. Still questions on how. While officials work to confirm the -- story. Passengers are asking questions of their -- How does this even happened that doesn't make sense in the standings the spotlight once again on airport security and -- enough is being done to keep passengers say. People -- continue to review what happened here to ensure that it doesn't happen again. The FBI says the boy never posed a threat to -- the airline toward the airport and so far he has not been charged with a crime. At Mineta San Jose international -- of ABC 7 NEWS. -- let me ask you this then because officials are -- to go through exactly how -- back this could have been pulled off just kind of physical basis I think doubting that kid's story now. Yes and know what they. You know is that they didn't of them actually coming down that we well when he landed in -- so they don't -- -- at some point. He made it onto that plane. What they don't. Necessarily apply in this is what they told me off camera. Is that they don't believe he could have survived that altitude and the link that that fight with those temperatures. That's -- still has officials puzzled. And that's where they want to get you more details before they buy his story in its entirety because it's not pressurized -- it's not temperature controlled. There's also lack of oxygen up there now. All of that aside though he hasn't been charged with a crime yet -- having our police planning on possibly bringing charges against them. And officials here -- meet the operative word and all of that is yet because there was indeed a breach of security whereas he made that it had no intent. He did indeed. Break the law by scaling -- -- and running across a tarmac and possibly boarding a plane illegally. Nick Smith from kgo covering the story that has a lot of people scratching their has they -- -- -- -- -- time and report certainly appreciate that. So from the story I want to bring an aviation expert John Nance also ABC news consultant out of Seattle their job a lot of people are doubting -- claims on -- but I mean -- first -- describe the conditions inside of a wheel well. Not conducive to continuous human life that would give way to put -- -- somewhat of the doubting thomas' who basically shift from the first this is not possible. -- the FAA is apparently bad about paper written some time ago so there have been two incidents of this and long distance high altitude flight. I have yet to totally believe that because we haven't followed up on -- but the fact -- The the over tax or that you can't survive in that situation you'll be brain dead and five minutes without supplemental oxygen. At 353738000. Feet and if that doesn't get -- minus fifty degree Fahrenheit temperatures sustained over five hours will. If this -- have any frostbite but he wasn't an exposure shoot -- didn't have a tank of oxygen. To suck on under pressure. Additional she -- to be alive. So I -- if you basically you think at the wheel well it what's the wheel comes up the plane takes off -- comes up the doors close and behind it then. That's not a pressurized area right. No absolutely not not pressurized not -- now by the way. Even if you were able to find a place to crawl into up there and I'm sure that there is an -- over two. If you make a mistake you're going to be killed as the -- comes up that's 3000 pounds of hydraulic pressure 3000 miles per square -- you're not gonna win a battle with the wheels so first you've got to survive that. Then you've got to survive the cold and a lack of auction for a long period of time and if you're unconscious when the wheels come out. You're likely if especially if you were hugging a war attire at the beginning. To go out with a that's when we lost a lot of these people who tried -- well exhibit that that that that a lot of people that are saying it is possible in the fact that. Maybe he had access to other parts the plane but he just use the -- well as sort of his entry point is that even feasible. No no because there's not an entry point there however it is feasible that he was on -- baggage compartment he concocted this story. Slipped out went over the wheel well got up and got down I mean there there are numerous possibilities here. Now -- our own ABC doctor doctor Richard investors said this morning on GMA and and I think he was correct. In this I do know of this procedure in and medicine where you slow the heart rate down -- cool people down you make them hypothermic. And you put them in kind of a more suspended animation type of situation we've had people survived 45 minutes in cold water and be revived. But five hours without a way of controlling this. If that has indeed happened before -- -- say the FAA says it has twice in the past. Then the question is is -- new form of hibernation that we're going to be looking at for future spaceflight because when you're getting down to two beats a minute with a heart. And the ability to withstand an -- -- -- -- five hours that is incredible. Yet -- -- -- -- five hour flight LS as you point out five minutes loan could be fatal five hours -- -- different story. Well the FAA says in fact there have been 95 attempted still weighs between 1996. In 2012 more than 75% of those. Resulted in death why are people still trying this then because clearly if they if there's no -- into the cargo hold there's clearly no -- into the actual cabinet self. People are still trying in this. Most of time when this occurs it's from an impoverished country and somebody trying desperately to get out of that country and they don't they aren't sophisticated enough to know. What they're getting into they don't know about pressurization -- bill -- cold temperatures -- And those numbers that you gave Democrat that's what the efficacious but that's only what we know about. Most of the flights to come into JFK for instance -- New York opened their gear up over water we have no idea how many people have been falling -- wheel wells for years in the water we wouldn't necessarily know. But usually usually fatal I completely disagree whether their statement that 22% will survive I think that's a much lower percentage. We if we look at the actual facts right here. In the fact that he did make his way -- the tarmac and there is apparently video of him actually coming down from the wheel well but again as you reported -- could have been an -- heat -- -- -- cargo hold. Once the plane landed then crawled up in the wheel well and came down that way. Regardless though that is -- secure that as a security breach beyond any kind of comprehension in this post 9/11 world does that not. Well not beyond comprehension unfortunately I wish we could say that is certainly. Something that should shake everybody up we have known for some time that all the -- a role -- that we go through as passengers and even crew members in the airport somehow that's for show some of that serious. But in the meantime we've got airplanes parked out there was nothing but the films and really very little ability portability and a lot of airport. To know if anybody goes over that -- Even if you're you're trying to secure major air force nations a full time proposition and you need a lot of people to do it but airports just don't have the money they haven't put money into it and his wife after the fact -- she's somebody on a video why wasn't caught at that time. They aren't shut up about it. Looking at the incident that just took place that obviously referring reviewing the security measures as well John Nance aviation expert and ABC news consultant John thanks for timing your answers -- -- appreciate that. Of course you can stay up to date with the latest on the story by downloading ABC news app -- the story for updates in real time on the go. For now though I'm -- -- New York with this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"9:31","description":"16-year-old hid in the plane's wheel-well for the duration of the flight.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/US","id":"23412293","title":"Teen Claims He Survived Improbable Stowaway Attempt","url":"/US/video/teen-claims-survived-improbable-stowaway-attempt-23412293"}