Teen stowaway’s father arrives in Hawaii to bring son home


The father of a California teenager who stowed away in a jetliner wheel well on a flight to Maui has flown to Hawaii to pick up his son.

Abdilahi Yusuf arrived in Honolulu and is preparing to return to Santa Clara with his 15-year-old son, Yahya Abdi, the Associated Press and other media reported Tuesday.

The boy has been under the watch of Hawaii’s Department of Human Services since being found wandering the tarmac at a Maui airport April 20. He told airport and FBI officials he’d snuck into the San Jose airport and holed up in the rear left wheel well of a Hawaii Airlines jetliner for the 5½-hour journey across the Pacific Ocean.


He apparently was trying to reunite with his mother, who he had recently learned was alive after his father told him she was dead.

Speaking from a refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia earlier this week, Ubah Mohamed Adbdullahi told Voice of America radio that she believed her son risked his life trying to reach her, according to the Associated Press.

“I know he was looking for me, and I am requesting the U.S. government to help me reunite with my kids,” she told the international radio station. The boy’s parents are divorced, and he lives with his father in Santa Clara in the Bay Area.

Authorities called it a “miracle” that the teen survived the flight. The wheel well of the Boeing 767 is not pressurized or heated, meaning the teen was subject to extremely thin air and temperatures as low 80 degrees below zero when it cruised at 38,000 feet.

Santa Clara Unified School District spokeswoman Jennifer Dericco confirmed the teenager was a high school student in the district, but declined to say where, citing privacy concerns. She said district officials had been in contact with both the boy’s family and authorities.

“We’re working with them, and just making sure that he and his family and any of his peers have all the support that they need when he returns,” she said.

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