Family members of teen stowaway speak out
(WJLA) - The teenage stowaway who hid in a cramped plane wheel well huddled for more than five hours in subzero temperatures and nearly no oxygen.
Now, his family members reveal new clues as to why the 15-year-old hitched that flight from California to Hawaii.
In an interview with Voice of America, his father said he was shocked to learn of his son’s unbelievable journey:
"How did you transport my son to Hawaii? How are you able to hide inside an airplane?” he said in his native Somali.
The boy told officials that he left home after fighting with his father and stepmother. But his dad said nothing about an argument, saying the family prayed together on Friday.
It was early Sunday morning when the teen, undetected, scaled the fence at the San Jose Airport and crawled into the plane, hiding there for nearly seven hours before it took off for Maui. His family had just moved to this Northern California neighborhood, and the father said his son was struggling at his new school and longed to return to Africa.
“He was a very quiet person. He was always busy watching TV and using the computer. He had a tough time with his schoolwork, his math class, science…” he explained.
Speaking to ABC News exclusively, a cousin also said the boy missed his mother, who lives in Somalia, and hadn’t seen her since he was two years old.
“He wanted his mother, but never expressed to the outside world that he wanted to jump over the fence and go to the airport…” said Mukhtar Guled.