Travel

Teen survives five-hour flight hidden in airplane wheel well

Low oxygen. Negative 75-80F temps. Giant airplane wheels that can totally crush you. There's a reason the odds of surviving a flight tucked away in an airplane wheel well are a mere 24%. Yet, remarkably, a 16-year-old California stowaway pulled it off on Sunday, landing at Maui's Kahulai Airport after a five-hour flight from San Jose that reached altitudes of 38,000ft. Somehow he also managed to avoid falling out of the plane when the wheels opened -- which happens a lot too. 

After allegedly running away, the boy hopped a fence at the San Jose airport and stowed himself in the plane's gear before take off. Due to the aforementioned lack of oxygen and subzero temps, he reportedly spent the majority of the flight unconscious but was able to walk away from the plane after landing -- at least to the ambulance; a medical screening confirmed he was in a stable condition, though there's a risk he could suffer brain damage in the future. After some consideration, authorities won't be filing charges.

Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Downton Abbey. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.