SAN JOSE, Calif. (TheBlaze/AP) — The father of the teenager who climbed into the wheel well of a jet at the San Jose airport and survived a 5½-hour trip flight to Hawaii said he plans to fly to Hawaii soon to bring his son home to California, though admitting the boy is "struggling adjusting to life" in America.
Abdulahi Yusuf said in a statement issued through a family spokesman Sunday that he's excited to get his son home and was relieved to hear of his safety. The boy, 15, remains hospitalized in Hawaii.
Ubah Mohamed Abdullahi said in an interview with VOA’s Somali service that her son, Yahya Abdi, recently learned she was alive after being told by his father that she was dead.
FBI agents say surveillance video shows the teen jumping out of the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet on a Maui tarmac a week ago after surviving a cross-Pacific flight from San Jose, California. He told authorities he had argued with his father before leaving his house.
Abdullahi said her ex-husband took their three children to California without her knowledge and that she hadn’t heard from them since 2006.
"I know he was looking for me, and I am requesting the U.S. government to help me reunite with my kids,” she told VOA, adding that she is “very shocked” by her son’s ordeal and “how he risked his life.”
But the father, a cab driver in Santa Clara, California, said his son is "struggling adjusting to life in this country" and didn't receive formal education in the war-torn African nation, where the boy's mother remains in a refugee camp. The parents are divorced.
The father also spoke to VOA’s Somali service in an exclusive interview Wednesday and said “Allah had saved” his son.