“Being in a wheel well is like all of a sudden being on top of Mount Everest”
Between the oxygen depletion and the cold, life expectancy “is measured in minutes,” Wise said.
But some people have survived. A study by the Federal Aviation Administration looked at 10 wheel-well passenger stowaways between 1947 and 1993, involving flights as high as 39,000 feet. Five people survived. The conditions put them in a virtual “hibernative” state, the report said.
“For somebody to survive multiple hours with that lack of oxygen and that cold is just miraculous,” airline analyst Peter Forman told CNN affiliate KHON in Honolulu on Monday.