A Somalian stowaway’s mom was shocked and relieved to learn her son had stolen into the wheel well of a U.S. flight Sunday to try and reach her - and survived.
15-year-old Yahya Abdi jumped a barbed-wire fence at San Jose International Airport while it was still dark and hid in the wheel well of the most proximate plane, which was heading to Hawaii. The teen, who was attempting to fly to Somalia to see his mother, discovered recently she was still alive. This news came after his father had reportedly lied to him about her passing away in a Mogadishu rocket attack years ago.
Following a disagreement with his father and stepmother, the boy left home and walked three miles to the San Jose airport, at which point he hopped the fence. It was indicated by aviation experts that Abdi plausibly entered a "hibernation" state during the five hour flight, allowing him to survive the 38,000 ft. altitudes and as much as 85 degrees below zero temperatures.
So the airport stowaway had just learned his mom was alive after believing her dead his whole life? Wowza. #lifetimeMovie
— Tyler Barnes (@TheTylerBarnes) April 26, 2014
The incident caused many to raise questions regarding airline security. Employees meant to monitor security screens are simultaneously issued various other tasks, opening up the opportunity for breaches like these.
Images on the cameras in Maui captured Yahya's feet dangling from the wheel well, him weaving side to side on the tarmac after landing, and him asking a baggage handler for water. Maui airport manager Marvin Moniz relayed his conversation with the boy after having gotten him food and water:
"I said, you know, 'How did you get on that airplane?' He says, 'Well, I jumped the fence.' So I tried to ask him was this a wooden fence? A chain-link fence? And he says, 'Oh well, I just saw some cars parked in a corner and I went over there and I jumped the fence.'"
— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) April 24, 2014
His mother, Ubah Mohamed Abdullahi, currently living in an Ethiopian refugee camp, blames his father and stepmother for treating him poorly and lying to him about her death. This news is the first she’s heard about her son in six years. Following her divorce from Yahya’s father in 2008 and their move to the U.S., she lost contact with the family. Ubah described how she had tried desperately to reach her children, but the father barred any contact. She explained:
“We are divorced. I called him several times through his relatives and he refused to talk to me."
She went on to say, "I felt bad that he risked his life… I was told that he did this because of me." In an interview with VOA, she pleaded: “I want to hear the voice of my children. I want to see them, please help me.”
— KRON 4 News (@kron4news) April 25, 2014
Ubah is now in the process of getting a sponsor so she can come to the United States. Friday reports indicated that Yahya was still in a Honolulu hospital with continued respiration complications.
Healing thoughts go out to Yahya - along with well wishes on his journey to reunite with his mom. Until that time arrives, her advice is no different than our own moms might give us:
"I am still alive and I will come one day. Please stay calm and do not do anything stupid."
Image via Youtube