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Tower audio of Hawaiian Air stowaway released

By Martha Mendoza

AP National Writer

LAST UPDATED: 07:58 a.m. HST, Jun 03, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif. >> About an hour after a California teen was discovered on a Hawaii runway in April, a nonplussed pilot preparing to depart tells air traffic controllers he will be a bit delayed because "a guy is seeming to have stowed away in the landing gear from San Jose to Maui."

The pilot was referring to 15-year-old Yahya Abdi, a Somali immigrant who ran away from his Santa Clara, California, home, hopped a fence at Mineta San Jose International Airport and climbed into the wheel well of the closest plane. The jet took off a few hours later for a 5 1/2 -hour flight to Maui on April 20.

Abdi improbably survived the flight at 35,000 feet despite low oxygen and freezing temperatures.

Video footage from the Maui airport shows him dropping to the tarmac about an hour after the jet landed. But when it was time for that same jet to leave, the pilot, who was a different pilot than the one who had landed the jet there, said security and mechanics were holding him up, according to a 10-minute Federal Aviation Administration audio recording, provided exclusively to The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

"Um, we have a little gate delay here. A guy is seeming to have stowed away in the landing gear from San Jose to Maui, so we have security in there looking for evidence of the guy being up there for more than, you know, ha, five minutes on the ground. So we'll let you know when we're ready to push," says the pilot of outbound Hawaiian Airlines Flight 24, heading for Oakland.

"All right, 24, have your roger," says an air traffic controller, confirming he received and understood the message. "You need any assistance with that or, er, you guys got it?"

"Nope, plenty of security here, mechanics, it's all good, we just kind of waiting for clearance to go," says the pilot, explaining that once the crews agree the plane is undamaged, they'll give him the go-ahead.

The controller is calm, routine, in his response, telling the pilot he can back away from the ramp when he's ready, because the tower doesn't have jurisdiction over that part of the airport: "Roger, thanks, well it will be push back at your discretion."

"Okey doke, thanks," says the pilot.

The boy was hospitalized in Hawaii for two weeks, then flown back to California where he was placed in custody of Santa Clara County Child Protective Services. A county spokesman said Monday he cannot disclose the boy's whereabouts.

His father did not respond to an interview request.

Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Alison Croyle said the crew of the departing flight had been told about the stowaway and the activity going on around their aircraft. She said the pilot contacted the controller because once an aircraft has received the en route clearance, there is an expectation from the air traffic control tower that the aircraft is prepared to depart and will push back shortly.

"In this instance, the pilot was advising Air Traffic Control of the delay and providing an explanation to the best of his knowledge," said Croyle.

The FAA planned to provide a public link to the audio Tuesday.

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pj737 wrote:
I was assuming "nonplussed" meant negatived but I was wrong.
on June 2,2014 | 10:14PM
luv2play wrote:
Well, at least you checked the definition.
on June 2,2014 | 10:55PM
bullturd wrote:
I'll use that word for a couple of my Lolo friends when we're having meaningful conversations at coffee.
on June 3,2014 | 06:38AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Remember Pubic, so anything is possible.
on June 3,2014 | 10:26AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
We need to have the English Language as standard for ALL people.
on June 3,2014 | 10:25AM
joeglick wrote:
He was training to be an astronaut.
on June 3,2014 | 04:58AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
When a National AP writer is involved, we know we've made it.
on June 3,2014 | 10:28AM
W_Williams wrote:
Why is this news?
on June 3,2014 | 05:39AM
loquaciousone wrote:
SA is going to beat this story to death....talk about ad nauseum.
on June 3,2014 | 07:04AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
HSA, SA could stand for San Antonio.
on June 3,2014 | 10:29AM
bumbye wrote:
I wonder if he has lasting effects i.e., brain damage from low oxygen for so long.
on June 3,2014 | 07:50AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Maybe that's why he has not been seen for awhile.
on June 3,2014 | 10:30AM
hawaii1952 wrote:
Headline News: A Honolulu man, in his 30's, has been arrested for attempted murder when his shopping cart ran over a cockroach at a Costco store. Police homicide detectives released the man on $5,000 bail. The roach, who limped away and refused treatment, was unavailabe for comment.
on June 3,2014 | 10:24AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
We step on thousands of ants each day, and we don't need to show up in court.
on June 3,2014 | 10:31AM
MrMililani wrote:
Great security! And I still have to take off my shoes, etc. and go through all the unpleasantness every time I travel.
on June 3,2014 | 11:35AM
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