SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The 15-year-old California boy who survived a harrowing San Jose-to-Maui flight in a jetliner’s wheel well remains at a Honolulu children’s hospital while child-welfare officials work on the details of getting him back to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Meanwhile, an array of news crews Tuesday descended on the teen’s Santa Clara home and high school to get some glimpse into the youth who lived through a feat that the Federal Aviation Administration says has a 76 percent death rate, and is perhaps the only person in recorded history to emerge unscathed.
The boy, whose name has not been publicly released, attends Santa Clara High School, according to schoolmates. An email sent Tuesday morning to school staff stated he transferred to the Santa Clara Unified School District five weeks ago, has been in the United States for about four years and speaks English as a second language.
“The district is in contact with his family and authorities so that when he returns to school, he will be able to get the services he needs,” said Santa Clara High Principal Gregory Shelby, who referred additional questions to the district.
At the boy’s Forbes Avenue home Tuesday morning, neighbors said the family has lived in the house about six months, and that a yellow cab and gray van usually occupy the driveway. Neither was present Tuesday.
Although it appeared someone was peeking through the blinds, no one answered the door.
Manish Saini, a neighbor, described the family as “normal and nice.” He said did not realize the stowaway was his neighbor until news crews began parking on his street.
Hawaiian and national news outlets reported Tuesday that the boy was trying to travel to Africa to reunite with his mother after running away due to discord with his father. The FBI says the boy did not intentionally head to Hawaii, and got into the first plane he saw — a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 — after scaling a fence at Mineta San Jose International Airport. A Maui news report attributed the Africa destination to local police, who first responded after the boy emerged from the plane’s wheel well. Officials with Maui police would not confirm the report.