SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A woman claiming to be the mother of the 15-year-old boy who survived a flight from San Jose to Hawaii in a plane’s wheel well said the boy’s father falsely told their children that she died in a rocket attack, according to a report in a British newspaper.
The boy, identified by The Daily Mail newspaper as Yahya Abdi, reportedly ran away from the Santa Clara home where he lived with his father, stepmother and four siblings because he wanted to find his mom, who he hasn’t seen since 2006.
Ubah Mohamed Abdullahi told the newspaper in an interview from an Ethiopian refugee camp that the teen discovered two years ago that she was actually alive.
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Abdullahi said she split with her former husband Abdulahi Abdi Yusef in 2000. He married another woman and then left with their three children for the United States six years later.
Abdullahi claimed in the interview her ex-husband told their children that she was killed in a rocket attack in Mogadishu.
“‘I have been so worried and upset since I heard the news, I have been crying and crying. I have not seen my children since 2006 and I miss them,” Abdullahi told The Daily Mail.
“I am extremely worried about my son. The fact he did what he did shows he’s unhappy,” the woman also said.
The woman said she is in the process of getting a sponsor to move to the United States.
Abdullahi also criticized her ex-husband in the interview and said, “If I had the chance to speak to him I would say, ‘You didn’t think of their rights because of the negative emotions you have towards me. You are supposed to protect them and put them first, but you didn’t do what was best for them. Now look what has happened.’”
In an interview with the Voice of America, the teen’s father said his son talked a lot about going back to Africa.
The 15-year-old reportedly was on the tarmac at Mineta San Jose International Airport for several hours Sunday morning before the Hawaiian Airlines jetliner took off for Maui. He survived sub-zero conditions and a lack of oxygen on the flight before arriving in Hawaii.
The teen is currently resting in a Hawaiian hospital. It is unclear when he will return to the Bay Area.