Teen Stowaway Recalls Being 'Above the Clouds'
But Yahye Abdi doesn't recommend the stunt
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2014 2:00 PM CDT
In this photo taken April 27, 2014, Ubah Mohammed Abdule, 33, with daughter Neshad Yusuf Ahmed, 5, in eastern Ethiopia. Her son Yahye Abdi was trying to reach her.   (AP Photo/Elias Asmare)

(Newser) – The 15-year-old stowaway who somehow survived a five-hour flight from San Jose to Hawaii inside a plane's wheel well had pretty simple criteria when he picked out his flight: "I took that plane because it was the closest one I could find that was going to go west," Yahye Abdi tells KPIX via Google Chat. He brushes aside school troubles as a motivation, saying, "I only did it because I didn’t want to live with my stepmom. Second of all, I wanted to find my mom. I haven’t seen her since I was young." His mom is currently living in a refugee camp in Ethiopia; Yahye says that he spoke to her yesterday and that he wants "her to live with me in America."

Yahye doesn't appear too much worse for the wear: He's regained his hearing, suffers no physical side effects, says the experience wasn't scary, and was apparently conscious for at least part if not all of it: “It was above the clouds, I could see through the little holes." He's currently in foster care, but will head to Minnesota to live with an aunt. The rising high school junior, who says he wants to join the Army after graduation, has some pretty straightforward advice for kids who might try to replicate his stunt: "They shouldn’t run away because sometimes they will end up dying."

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Jun 18, 2014 9:45 PM CDT
Somebody needs to start a GoFundMe for this kid to take a trip to visit his mom, or to get her and his sister here.
Jun 18, 2014 8:48 PM CDT
I can sympathize. I love where I live and have lived elsewhere, but I really respect immigrants who leave their surroundings and culture and make their way in a completely foreign environment.
Jun 18, 2014 8:08 PM CDT
So much for air side security. Nobody in any of the neighboring planes said anything. You can only guess how cold he was during his flight. He survived the impact of the landing one lucky kid.