California teen who stowed-away on plane to Hawaii talks about the harrowing trip: ‘I wanted to find my mom’

In April, 15-year-old Yahye Abdi hopped a fence at San Jose International Airport, slipped into a plane’s wheel well and survived a five-hour flight to Maui. Now, the teen is talking about his dangerous journey: ‘I only did it because I didn’t want to live with my stepmom,’ he said.

The California teen who stowed away in the wheel well of a plane and amazingly survived a flight from San Jose to Hawaii is explaining why he made the dangerous runaway trip.

In April, Yahye Abdi, 15, hopped a fence at San Jose International Airport, dodged security on the tarmac, slipped into a plane heading to Maui and then braved frigid air temperatures on the 5-hour flight. Officials said he was lucky to have survived.

Abdi told his side of the story to San Francisco’s KPIX 5 Tuesday.

The teen said he ran away from his Santa Clara home — where he lived with his dad — because he missed his Ethiopian mom.

“I only did it because I didn’t want to live with my stepmom,” he told the TV station. “I wanted to find my mom. I haven’t seen her since I was young.”

Abdi’s mom lives in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. After the teen’s harrowing flight, she said his father fled with her children in 2006, taking them from Africa to California without her permission.

She said she had no idea where the man had taken her boys, and that she hadn’t seen her sons in eight years.

Apparently, Abdi’s father told him his mother had been dead for years. The 15-year-old had recently learned she was alive in Ethiopia when he decided to run away.

He said he never meant to end up in Hawaii. In fact, he just took one of the first planes he saw.

“I took that plane because it was the closest one I could find that was going to go west,” he told the TV station.

The stowaway said he remembers the trip vividly. He had to cover his ears when the plane took off because the engine was so loud, and he saw clouds below him when the plane reached 35,000 feet.

Officials said it’s a miracle he survived the trip.

Two months later, he’s regained his hearing and suffers no long-lasting injuries he said.

The teen, who has been staying in foster care since the harrowing stunt, plans to move to Minneapolis soon so he can live with his aunt. However, whether the Transportation Security Administration will give him clearance to fly there is still up in the air.

Abdi will be a high school junior in the fall. After graduation, he wants to join the Army, he said.

Categories: U.S.

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