Mum of 16-Year-Old Stowaway in Ethiopian Refugee Camp Believes Son Was Looking for Her

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By Vittorio Hernandez | April 28, 2014 9:20 AM EST

Yahya Abdi, the Santa Clara teenager who stowed away last week in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airline jet bound for Hawaii and survived the incident, was in search of his mum who is in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.

Reuters
An airport apron controller vehicle leads the way for an airplane during strike action by Lufthansa pilots at the Fraport airport in Frankfurt April 3, 2014. Lufthansa pilots were on strike for a second day on Thursday, grounding Germany's largest airline in a row over retirement conditions. The pilots announced a three-day stoppage earlier this week, leading Lufthansa to cancel 3,800 flights, or around nine out of ten flights planned for the period. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT TRANSPORT) April 3, 2014

Ubah Mohamed Abdullah, the mother, made the claim in a Voice of America broadcast. She said her son just learned that she is alive, but through the years, her ex-husband, Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi, a cab driver in Santa Clara, told the boy she was dead.

Ubah told VOA, "I know he was looking for me, and I am requesting the US government to help me reunite with my kids."

However, the father said Yahya did not get a good education in Africa and was struggling with math, science and other subjects, and wanted to return to the continent where his grandparents are. "We want to go back, but due to the current living conditions we can't go back," the father said.

Ubah said Abdilah took their three kids to California without her knowledge, and until Yahya's little adventure, she has not heard from them since 2006.

Yahya recalled losing consciousness when the plane took off and woke up already in Kahului Airport where he was eventually spotted by surprised airport workers walking in a dazed state.

Read also: 16-Year-Old Stowaway from LA Survives 5 Hours inside Wheel Well of Hawaiian Airlines

 

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(Photo: Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach)
An airport apron controller vehicle leads the way for an airplane during strike action by Lufthansa pilots at the Fraport airport in Frankfurt April 3, 2014. Lufthansa pilots were on strike for a second day on Thursday, grounding Germany's largest airline in a row over retirement conditions. The pilots announced a three-day stoppage earlier this week, leading Lufthansa to cancel 3,800 flights, or around nine out of ten flights planned for the period. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT TRANSPORT) April 3, 2014
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