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Stowaway jumps out of plane in security video

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 05:06 p.m. HST, May 06, 2014


The state Department of Transportation on Tuesday released security video from Kahului Airport that showed a California teenage stowaway dropping down from a Hawaiian Airlines jet's wheel well after surviving a more than 5-hour flight.

The video, shot on April 20, showed the plane sitting at an airport gate when the boys legs appear from under the plane and he falls to the ground. He is then seen wandering aimlessly around the plane until airport workers notice him.

DOT re-issued an April 21 statement that said, "On Sunday, April 20, a juvenile male was found walking on the tarmac at Kahului Airport just prior to 11:30 a.m. The teen appeared disoriented and was questioned by a worker near the plane who alerted security. TSA and the FBI were also contacted. Surveillance video at Kahului Airport showed what appeared to be the boy exiting from the wheel well of a plane from San Jose, California, that had landed in Kahului, Maui, at about 10:30 a.m. The boy was treated by airport and county medics and then transported to a Maui hospital."

The 15-year-old boy, later identified as Somali immigrant Yahya Abdi, was taken to an Oahu hospital where he remained under state custody until last weekend when he was flown back home to San Jose. The Associated Press reported that he is being cared for by Santa Clara County Child Protective Services.

His father, Abdilahi Yusuf, who drives a taxi in San Jose, flew to Hawaii last week to bring his son home, but child welfare officials there turned the boy over to their California counterparts.

Abdi, who lived in Santa Clara with his father, stepmother and siblings, had been unhappy in California and desperately missed his mother, according to those who know his family. School officials said he had been in the U.S. for about four years and speaks English as a second language.

Abdi's mother Ubah Mohammed Abdule lives in a refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia and told The Associated Press that the boy longed to see her but his father told him she was dead.

Law enforcement agents in California want to question Abdi about how he climbed over a fence at San Jose International Airport then got into the wheel well of a Boeing 767 and survived the April 20 flight at 35,000 feet despite the cold and a lack of oxygen.

Hawaii DOT officials did not provide any new information about the stowaway Tuesday, but said, "Hawaii airport security includes multiple layers of security involving many agencies. While we cannot disclose details of our security operations we can say that perimeter security includes foot patrols, vehicle patrols, and video surveillance. Hawaii DOT Airports Division is continually working with our security partners including the FAA to improve operations and security."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.






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