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Teen Stowaway's Father Says Son Is 'a Good Kid'

Image:Workers move equipment near gates used by Hawaiian Airlines at Terminal A
Workers move equipment near gates used by Hawaiian Airlines at Terminal A of Mineta San Jose International Airport on April 21,in San Jose, Calif. A 16-year-old boy scrambled over a fence at the airport, crossed a tarmac and climbed into a jetliner's wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii, Sunday. FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu said the teen did not remember the flight from San Jose.Eric Risberg / AP

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The father of the 15-year-old Somali boy who traveled from California to Hawaii in the wheel-well of a plane, unscathed, said Sunday that the teen was "struggling" to adjust to life in the U.S.

"Our family was deeply concerned when my son went missing, and we were relieved to hear of his safety considering the circumstances of his trip," the boy's father, Abdulahi Yusuf said in a statement.

"My son, like many immigrant children, is struggling adjusting to life in this country," Yusuf said.

The teen's mother, Ubah Mohamed Abdullahi, lives at the Sheder Refugee Camp in Ethiopia, a United Nations official told the Associated Press. Abdullahi told Voice of America radio that her ex-husband told her son she had died, but he was looking for her after learning that she was, in fact, alive.

Yusuf said his family's "situation was aggravated by our displacement in Africa for many years after fleeing our home country of Somalia because of war conditions." He said his son did not receive a formal education before being thrust into school in California.

Abdullahi requested that American officials help her to reunite with her son, but Yusuf said he would soon fly to Hawaii and was "excited to bring him back home to his family in California."

"Yahya is a good kid who I love dearly," Yusuf said.

— Elisha Fieldstadt
Image:Workers move equipment near gates used by Hawaiian Airlines at Terminal A
Workers move equipment near gates used by Hawaiian Airlines at Terminal A of Mineta San Jose International Airport on April 21,in San Jose, Calif. A 16-year-old boy scrambled over a fence at the airport, crossed a tarmac and climbed into a jetliner's wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii, Sunday. FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu said the teen did not remember the flight from San Jose.Eric Risberg / AP

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