Airplane stowaway raises questions about airport security

A teenager that stowed away on a flight from San Jose to Hawaii has raised questions about the effectiveness of airport security, the Associated Press reports

The teen, a 15-year-old boy from California, hid in the landing gear of a Boeing 767 airplane that was departing from San Jose. He was discovered when the plane landed in Hawaii, having survived a loss of oxygen and a temperature drop that are usually fatal at commercial airplane altitudes. 

The incident has raised questions about how a ticket-less passenger could not only get through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, but also end up on a runway with access to an airplane’s mechanical equipment without being detected.  

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“I have long been concerned about security at our airport perimeters. #Stowaway teen demonstrates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) tweeted.

Richard Bloom, an airport security expert at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona, told the AP that airport security was likely always going to be an inexact science. 

“Sometimes the actual results are quite underwhelming when it gets to the real world, where people are fatigued, people are preoccupied,’’ Bloom told the newswire. ‘‘There’s no way to guarantee security, even if you had one person per video screen.’’

The boy who stowed away was unconscious when he was discovered in Hawaii, according to the report. He was taken to a Hawaii hospital and he regained consciousness about an hour later. 

The boy was not charged with any crimes, the AP said.