SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A teenage stowaway who hitched a ride from San Jose to Hawaii in the wheel well of a jet says he knew exactly what he was doing when he hopped a fence at the airport.
“They make it easy for me, because it was short, like six feet,” Yahye Abdi said. “If it had like guards or something I wouldn’t have gone through there. So it was the TSA’s fault, not mine.”
In an interview via Google Chat, the 15-year-old said he crouched down in the wheel well and remembers covering his ears as the plane took off. At 35,000 feet, Abdi said he was basically sitting on the shell of the plane.
Abdi said he passed out shortly after and does not recall the rest of the flight. When he landed, he was dizzy, hungry, dehydrated and couldn’t hear anything.
“I see everything like yellow. I was going to go back to sleep. I thought it was like a dream,” he said.
The teen said he ran away from his Santa Clara home in April because he was unhappy living with his stepmom and wanted to see his mom, who lives in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. He said he hasn’t seen his birth mom since he was 7-years-old. Abdi planned to stow away on another plane to Asia and then a third plane to Africa to get to her.
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The teen is facing trespassing charges, but these days he spends his time doing normal teenager things, such as going to the movie theater and playing video games.
But, Abdi doesn’t recommend anyone else try what he did.
“They shouldn’t run away because sometimes they will end up dead,” he said.
Abdi, who is currently living in a Santa Clara County foster home, plans to move to Minnesota to live with a relative before starting his junior year of high school this fall. The 15-year-old says he wants to join the U.S. Army when he finishes school.