SAN JOSE, Calif. — The mother of a California teenager who stowed away on a flight to Hawaii told Voice of America that her son had recently learned that she was alive after being told by his father that she had died.
Speaking with VOA from a refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia, Ubah Mohamed Abdullahi said she felt bad that her son had risked his life, and she said her dream is to live with her children in the United States. The teenager's parents are divorced, and he lives with his father.
FBI agents say surveillance video shows the 15-year-old jumping out of the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet on a Maui tarmac Sunday after a flight from San Jose, Calif.
The boy, whose name has not been released, told authorities he had been in an argument with his father at home, went to the airport and got onto the first plane he came to. The father, Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi, is a cab driver in Santa Clara, Calif.
The 5½-hour flight over the Pacific would have exposed the teen to sub-zero temperatures, likely knocking him out for the duration. He has been hospitalized ever since.
Abdullahi told VOA that 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," she said of her teenage son, "and I am requesting the U.S. government to help me reunite with my kids."