The boy sneaked into the wheel compartment of a Boeing 767
that took off on Sunday from San Jose International Airport,
becoming one of only a fraction of stowaways to emerge alive
after such a treacherous trip. He told investigators he wanted
to go to Africa to see his mother, according to CNN.
The mother, Ubah Mohamed Abdulle, fled Somalia and lives in a
refugee camp in Ethiopia, where she told Voice of America that
she was divorced from the boy's father, who lives in Santa Clara
with the teenager and two of his siblings.
Abdulle said she has been completely cut off from her children
since 2006 and wants to be reunited with them in the United
“They were even told that I was dead, but they recently found
out that I was alive," she told the broadcast service in a
report published on Friday.
“I felt bad that he risked his life,” she said. “I was told that
he did this because of me.”
In a Voice of America interview this week, the boy's father
identified him as Yahya Abdi, and said his son was longing for
his native Africa.
FBI special agent Tom Simon earlier this week declined to
comment on the possibility the teenager was trying to reach
Africa. He said the boy randomly chose a Maui-bound Hawaiian
Airlines jet and climbed into its wheel well, passing out soon
after take-off in freezing temperatures and with low oxygen
levels during the five-and-a-half hour flight.
The teen remained in a Hawaii hospital on Friday in protective
custody of child welfare authorities, a spokeswoman for the
Hawaii Department of Human Services, Kayla Rosenfeld, said in an
email. She did not release details on his condition.
The boy's father, Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi, told Voice of America on
Wednesday the family anticipated that the boy would soon be
returned home to California.
Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi could not be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis;
editing by Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)
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