News / Africa

VOA Exclusive: Teen Stowaway's Father Says Allah Protected Son

People make their way into Terminal A at Mineta San Jose International Airport near the Hawaiian Airlines gates, April 21, 2014, in San Jose, Calif.
People make their way into Terminal A at Mineta San Jose International Airport near the Hawaiian Airlines gates, April 21, 2014, in San Jose, Calif.
Mohamed Olad
The father of a teen stowaway who survived a five-and-a-half hour flight to Hawaii this week hidden in a jetliner’s wheel well said Allah saved him from the dangers and extreme temperatures.
 
“When I watched the analysis about the extraordinary and dangerous trip of my son on local TVs and that Allah had saved him, I thanked God and I was very happy,” Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi, who lives in Santa Clara, California, told VOA’s Somali service in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Authorities have not named the teen who flew Sunday from San Jose to Maui in the wheel compartment of a Hawaiian Airlines jet and likely passed out, enduring below zero temperatures and low oxygen levels.

The father identified his son to VOA as Yahya Abdi and said he is recovering in a Hawaii hospital.

In Maui, the teen crawled out of the wheel well about an hour after the Boeing 767 landed and was spotted by airport workers on the tarmac. He remains in the custody of Hawaii child welfare services workers.

The father said he first received the news in a phone call from the Hawaii department police.
 
“They told me that they were holding my son,” he said. “I was shocked. I wondered how my son went there.”
 
“They tried to explain to me about the stowaway and the plane story,” the father said. “I got confused, and asked them to call the San Jose police department which later explained to me how things happened.”
 
Abdi said his son was at home on Friday.
 
“He was with us on Friday noon,” he said “We prayed the Friday prayers together.”
 
According to media reports in Hawaii and California, the boy jumped a fence at San Jose International Airport shortly after 1:00 a.m. Sunday and remained on the tarmac for six hours without being detained by authorities. Authorities say surveillance footage shows the teen jumping the fence.

The teen had argued with is family and was trying to fly out to see his mother in Somalia, unidentified law enforcement officials said. The teen reportedly told investigators that he crawled into the belly of the Hawaiian Airlines plane because it was closest to the fence. He had nothing with him but a comb, they said.

When asked what forced the teen to take the risky trip, the father said: “He did not receive education when he was in Africa. Since we came here he had learning challenges at school. He was not good at math and science and I think he had a lot of education problems bothering him.”
 
Media reports in California said the teen recently transferred to Santa Clara High School and fellow students described him as shy.
 
“He was very quiet person,” his father said. “He was always busy with watching the TV and using computer. I can say he was really cool boy.”
 
The father said his son often talked about Africa.
 
“He was always talking about going back to Africa, where his grandparents still live,” he said. “We want to go back, but due to the current living conditions we can’t go back.”
 
The father said that he was informed by authorities in Hawaii that the teen is going through health checks and that he would be returned home soon.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Sunshine from: San Jose
April 27, 2014 5:45 PM
How sad & dispointing. 6 years with out talking to his mother. Most Africa men are disgustingly dishonest & have no respect for the mother of their children. I can't believe he told his children their mother passed away. I hope god will open the father's eye & heart to understand the important of honesty. Please connect the poor kid with his mom.


by: Shiek from: South africa
April 25, 2014 5:26 PM
I listen the bbc interview with his mom crying saying he didnt hear frm her children for six years and the boy was told that his mom died and the boy discoved him mom is alive and she is in a refugee camp in ethopie may be he wished just to see his mother' wish the united states will reunite with there mother thats makes him take the risk' and please stop calling refugees terorists.

In Response

by: Helayne from: US
April 28, 2014 4:36 PM
It is not the responsibility of the US to reunite this law breaker teen with his mother. Let the father buy the boy a one-way ticket to Somalia and he can stay there where he belongs.


by: Anonymous
April 25, 2014 2:58 PM
once alah next time nobady


by: Lou from: Atlanta
April 25, 2014 8:46 AM
He HAD to have known what he was doing! He had to have knowledge about the plane.
Somebody put him up to this. A boy this age should be thinking about girls.

In Response

by: justime from: Rochester
April 26, 2014 1:22 PM
A few days before this event there was an Arnold Shwarseneger movie on AMC in which he gets in wheel well of plane and takes off on it------I wonder.


by: saga sund from: Seattle
April 25, 2014 7:16 AM
And why nobody invites his mom to America?


by: Rebecca from: Florida
April 24, 2014 6:00 PM
I agree with the lady from Ohio in every aspect. I wish the boy and his family the best and know full well that all Somali's are not terrorists nor are all Muslims terrorists. This family sounds nice and they are certainly welcome in the U.S. and have the constitutional right to practice the religion of their choice. The boy needs tutoring classes to catch up with school is all.


by: ADRIENNE from: MIAMI
April 24, 2014 5:57 PM
Now we know where to go for low airfares, but must dress warmly, head to toe.
Also, great healthcare without being charged.


by: Shari Riggs from: Dayton, Ohio U.S.A.
April 24, 2014 9:40 AM
Thank goodness this young boy is safe. So many things couldve happened to this young boy. Im very happy he will be safely returned to his family. Hopefully someone can offer him free assistance in his education since this seems to be his biggest motivation in leaving. Someone also should make sure he can be in better contact with his family in Africa.


by: Sisinta from: Nairobi, Kenya
April 24, 2014 3:04 AM
First, the stowaway teen is very lucky, he survived more than five hour flight ordeal over the pacific ocean.
Surprisingly very lucky that he was not accused and charged for being a terrorist by the FBI. It's worldwide known that America is the worst place to be young black Muslim immigrant.

In Response

by: Helayne from: US
April 28, 2014 4:49 PM
Then why do they come here in droves?

In Response

by: Ian from: USA
April 24, 2014 10:08 AM
How is that America is the worst place to be a young black Muslim immigrant ?
and worldwide known fact?

Please don't buy into rumor and don't spread ill information about my country! This country is as safe if not safer for many "legal" immigrants from all over the world & from all religious background. Americans are as laissez-faire as any other countries if not more .

Ask yourself a question, if America is not a good place , why do peoples with "a dream" still come & many peoples are even willing to take the risk as illegal immigrants .


by: Asa Trong from: Vietnam
April 24, 2014 12:59 AM
Allah fell in deep sleep, when Malaysian Airline went its own way of destruction.

In Response

by: Anonymous
April 25, 2014 2:59 PM
good

In Response

by: Maryan from: Minnesota
April 25, 2014 2:03 AM
Tell me how can a God sleep? Not possible. Stop attributing human characteristics to Allah. He is none like His creations. The Malaysian Airline is a trial among many in this world. To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.

In Response

by: lisa from: atlanta
April 24, 2014 9:50 PM
The same Allah you talk about is the same Allah that you worship and beg for help when you say" O God please help me". Allah JUST means GOD. God never sleeps...... also ask any trustful official that new about the flight, they'll tell you they new the location of that fight when it fell long time ago. Don't be brainwashed.

In Response

by: KP from: Canada
April 24, 2014 8:45 PM
How rude of you to say!

In Response

by: Patricia Murray from: Canada
April 24, 2014 9:29 AM
So true

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid