Maui News

Follow-up: Teen Stowaway in Custody of Child Welfare Services

April 21, 2014, 9:24 AM HST
* Updated April 21, 2:04 PM
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Hawaiian Airlines at Kahului Airport. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawaiian Airlines at Kahului Airport. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

An investigation is underway to determine how a teen runaway boarded and survived a nearly 5-and-a-half hour flight to Kahului in the wheel well of a plane.

The 16-year-old boy arrived aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight from San Jose to Maui on Sunday morning, April 20, 2014.

Today, officials with the Department of Human Services say the boy has been released to the State of Hawaiʻi, and is in the care of the department’s Child Welfare Services Branch.

“Officials have notified the boy’s family that he is safe. The CWS Branch will enlist the help of all necessary agencies to ensure the child’s safe return to his home in California,” department officials said in a statement.

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Airport officials at Mineta San Jose International Airport say footage shows what appears to be an unidentified person walking on the airport ramp during darkness and approaching a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767. “At this time, SJC has not confirmed that video footage exists showing anyone scaling a fence at SJC,” airport officials in San Jose said.

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Airport officials say the footage is being reviewed as part of an ongoing investigation. “SJC and its security partners are currently investigating all possible lessons from this incident in order to identify appropriate changes to the SJC security program to improve it,” officials said in a statement issued today.

Airline officials say personnel on Maui noticed the individual after the flight’s arrival and immediately notified airport security.

Federal officials say they believe the boy was unconscious for much of the flight.

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Hawaiian Airlines officials confirmed that Flight 45 arrived at 10:31 a.m. on Sunday, April 20, 2014, at Kahului Airport. Airline representatives said, “Our primary concern now is for the well being of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived.”

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