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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stowaway travels 620 miles the wrong way

A 10-year-old boy who ran away from his home in Bolivia to find his mother travelled 620 miles in the wrong direction.

Franklin Villca Huanaco was trying to reach Cochabamba where his mother had recently served a prison sentence for drugs offences.

He stowed away in a truck which he thought was heading to the Bolivian city 70 miles away, reports the BBC.

But the driver, who was unaware of his stowaway, was actually heading for Iquique in northern Chile.

The boy hid in a metal container roughly the length of his body, attached to the underside of the truck, reports say.

"I wanted to see my mother," the boy told Chilean state television.

Authorities said the boy was lucky to survive the two-day journey without food or water while crossing Bolivia's Andean altiplano, where temperatures at night can fall below freezing.

He was only wearing pants, a shirt and ragged shoes. A woman later found him wandering the impoverished streets of Alto Hospicio township, which neighbours Iquique, and took him to her home.
The boy is currently staying with the woman's family. He is to be returned to his mother by a Bolivian official.

Huanaco's parents were separated, and he had been living with his father and four siblings in their house in Oruro, Bolivia.

His mother, Zenobia Huanaco, was released from prison a month ago and had been working in the countryside outside Cochabamba.

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