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TODAY   |  April 22, 2014

Teen stowaway likely won’t face charges

There’s a new call for tighter security around airports after a teen stowaway survived a flight from California to Hawaii. Many wonder how he was able to survive the harrowing trip. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

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>>> well, there are serious questions this morning about the 15-year-old stowaway who flew from california to hawaii in the wheel well of a commercial airplane. nbc's joe fryer is in san jose where it all started. joe , good morning.

>> good morni

>> reporter: good morning, tamron. san jose security is reviewing video and trying to figure out how the teenager breached the perimeter. some security experts are concerned it could happen at other airports. in the wake of a death-defying adventure, the city of san jose says it has no plans to file charges against the 15-year-old stowaway, but airline passengers have serious questions.

>> you go over a fence, and then without being checked while the passengers go through the metal detectors . maybe there's some lapse.

>> reporter: airport officials say surveillance video shows the boy crawling into the wheel well of a hawaiian airlines boeing 767 after possibly scaling an airport fence. security expert jonathan tall says there are nearly six miles of fencing around the perimeter of san jose 's airport, much of it topped with barbed wire and monitored by surveillance cameras .

>> the cameras are not a security tool. they're an investigative tool, that after the fact, you go and look.

>> reporter: as for the teenage stowaway, the boy told authorities he remained in the plane's wheel well throughout the five-hour flight to maui, losing consciousness while dealing with sub-zero temps and limited oxygen, experiencing what some are calling a type of hibernation. at his home in santa clara , california , relatives did not want to talk to nbc affiliate kntv. now the congressman for this district wants a nationwide study of the security surrounding airports.

>> perhaps what we'll find is that most of the airports do not have perimeters that could easily be breached, but certainly at san jose , something went wrong and it can't happen again.

>> reporter: the teen told authorities he ran away after a family argument. because he's a juvenile, we don't know his exact location right now. but social workers in hawaii were working to get him back home here to california . tamron?

>> all right, joe , thank you