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

(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."

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)
Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 arrives in Kahului Airport, on Monday, April 21, 2014. A 15-year-old boy flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii in a wheel well.   (AP Photo/Oskar Garcia)
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