16 Year Old Survives In Wheel Well?

Here’s a link to the AP Story: 16-year-old survives in wheel well of Maui flight

I’m very skeptical about this one. Authorities claim the kid survived the 5 hour flight from San Jose to Maui at 38,000 feet hiding in the wheel well of a 767.

320px-Hawaiian_767_(7733455090)
Hawaiian 767  cc: Simon_sees CC BY 2.0

767 wheel wells have very little room for anything other than wheels. They are unpressurized and unheated. Useful consciousness at this cruise altitude is about 20 seconds.

Long-term exposure to altitudes above 26,000 are generally considered lethal unless a person is a trained athlete or seasoned mountain climber.

Temperatures inside the wheel well are are likely to be around -40c during cruise. At the very least, this kid should show signs of hypothermia. They claim he regained consciousness and walked away.

I think there is more to this story. Can the human body withstand this type of exposure and simply walk away? Anyone out there a physiology expert?

I’d love to read your opinion. Feel free to comment!

1 Comment

  1. In some similar stories, they had claimed that residual heat from the brakes kept the compartment warm enough to avoid hypothermia. This does not account for survival at low air pressure.

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