Tape Shows Hawaiian Pilot Was Skeptical
About Teen Stowaway
Send a link to a friend
[June 04, 2014]
By Suzanne Roig
HONOLULU (Reuters) - Shortly after a
teenager clambered out of an airliner's wheel well at the end of a
flight from California, a pilot on the plane questioned whether the
stowaway had really made the death-defying journey, an audio recording
released on Tuesday showed.
Yahya Abdi, 15, was found on April 20 walking along the tarmac at
a Maui airport next to the Hawaiian Airlines plane about 50 minutes
after the flight arrived from San Jose, California.
He endured below freezing temperatures and scarce oxygen in the
wheel well of the Boeing 767 during the 5 1/2-hour flight.
An audiotape released on Tuesday by the Federal Aviation
Administration reveals a conversation between a pilot of the plane
and the air traffic control tower in Maui after Abdi was discovered.
The pilot was scheduled to fly the plane and its passengers to
Oakland, California, that day. “Um, we have a little gate delay
here," the pilot told air traffic controllers.
“We have a guy claiming to have stowed away in the landing gear from
San Jose to Maui," the pilot said on the tape. "So we have security
here looking at the landing gear for evidence of the guy being up
there for more than, you know, ha, five minutes on the ground. We’ll
let you know when we can push."
The stowaway from Santa Clara, California, had randomly chose a
plane to climb into at the airport in San Jose with no specific plan
to make the treacherous flight to Hawaii, the FBI said at the time.
Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi, the boy's father, told Voice of America in
April that the boy, an immigrant from Somalia, had long expressed
interest in returning to Africa. His mother was living in a refugee
camp in Ethiopia.
[to top of second column]
The boy was hospitalized for days in Hawaii after his treacherous
journey but has since returned to California.
Since 1947, 105 people worldwide have been found to have stowed away
on flights, and 80 of them died, according to the Federal Aviation
Administration. That represents a survival rate of less than 24
percent. The last known stowaway to walk away from such an ordeal
was in 2013 on a domestic flight in Nigeria.
(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Bill Trott)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.