Hawaii Stowaway

Teen Stowaway’s Father Says Son Is ‘a Good Kid’

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