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The father of a South Bay teen who stowed away in a wheel well of a flight to Hawaii said Wednesday he was shocked when he got the call from the authorities telling him his son was in Maui.
In an exclusive interview with Voice Of America's Mohamed Olad, Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi talked publicly for the first time since his son’s amazing journey over the weekend.
He told the agency that initially he was confused by the call and asked the Hawaiian authorities to call the San Jose police, who called him at his Santa Clara home.
“They told me that they were holding my son,” he told Voice of America. “I was shocked. I wondered how my son went there.”
“They tried to explain to me about the stowaway and the plane story,” the father continued. “I got confused, and asked them to call the San Jose police department which later explained to me how things happened.”
Abdi credited Allah with protecting his son on the flight. Experts have said it was nearly impossible for anyone to survive such a flight.
He said the teen was always talking about Africa because his grandparents lived there.
Jennifer Dericco, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara Unified School District, confirmed that Santa Clara High School Principal Gregory Shelby sent a note Tuesday to staff members saying the teen had been in the U.S. for about four years, speaks English as his second language and had transferred into the district just five weeks ago.
Shelby did not return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Dericco said confidentiality rules kept her from confirming the teen was a student at the school.
The boy's father drives a taxi, San Jose International Airport aviation director Kim Aguirre said, but she didn't know if he works at the airport.
On Wednesday, the head of Maui's main airport said the teen had no clue he was in Maui after jumping from a jetliner's wheel well to the tarmac.
Maui District Airport Manager Marvin Moniz told the Associated Press that the boy was disoriented and weak when he got off the Boeing 767, and he was questioned for about 30 minutes by FBI and Transportation Security Administration officials.
He said the boy wobbled as he walked and was soft-spoken, not saying much other than his journey started with an argument at home.
Moniz says when asked whether his mom and dad knew he ran away, the boy said he had a stepmom and had not seen his biological mother since he was 2.
The boy told authorities he jumped a fence and climbed up the landing gear of the closest plane. Video shows him on the airfield a little after 1 a.m. Sunday, said a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
It is not clear how the teen spent all the time before the plane took off around 8 a.m. FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu, where the boy is now resting in a hospital following his harrowing journey, said the teen "literally just slept on the plane overnight."
He has not been charged with any crime.
The fact that he survived is remarkable: At a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, temperatures in the wheel well would have been well below zero and the air so starved of oxygen that he likely passed out. In response, his body could have entered a hibernation-like state, from which he emerged once he was back on the ground, experts say.Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:19:39 -0700
A three-day-old female Pacific harbor seal pup took a swim Wednesday with her mother to the delight of visitors at Vallejo's Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
Park officials said "Lily" was born early Saturday morning at the park's Seal Cove exhibit -- the first seal pup born at the park in eight years.
The 20-pound black, grey and white spotted pup, born to nine-year-old Maile, a first time mother, and 10-year-old male Dyson, was named “Lily” by staff in honor of her birth over Easter weekend.
“We expected the birth to happen any time over the past few weeks,” said Michael Muraco, animal care director. “Seal births are particularly unique in that the pup starts swimming within a few minutes after birth. Within a few hours, they’re already exploring. Maile is proving to be a great mom with strong maternal instincts.”
The Seal Cove exhibit was closed to the public the day of the birth, but reopened on Easter Sunday to the delight of guests who had an opportunity to see the newborn swim, sleep and nurse.
Pacific harbor seals, also known as true seals, differ from sea lions in a number of ways, including having shorter, stouter flippers and no visible earflaps, park officials said.
Pups double their weight within the first four to six weeks nursing on the rich mother’s milk, which is about 45 percent fat, and then are weaned. In the wild, a mother will leave its pup after the first month to finish growing and fend for itself, park officials said.Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:09:07 -0700
A day after being told they were suspended for marking the death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez with a walk out, on Wednesday some students at Lawrence Cook Middle School were allowed back in class.
A group of about 25 students stood outside of the school Tuesday morning to rally for justice in the high-profile death of Lopez, who was shot by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy while carrying a pellet gun six months ago.
Many of them were classmates and friends of the teenage victim.
The plan was to protest during first period, and then come back to class, but they said the school’s principal took names and informed them of their suspensions.
8th grader Antonio Guerra was one of the affected students.
He returned to Cook Middle School accompanied by his mother Nicole Guerra, unsure whether he would be turned away.
“These kids obviously don’t have the support here at the school,” she said. “The only support they do have is their parents, their friends and members of the community who feel the same way.”
Nicole said that her son was allowed to return to school, as well as other kids who stood out front unsure whether to walk in.
Attorney Jonathan Melrod, who said he represents students and members of the Justice for Andy coalition, was also in front of the school just in case of any backlash from school officials.
“There is no reason the students should pay the price,” said Melrod. “They practiced democracy at age 13 and 14 and they were penalized for doing just that.”
The Santa Rosa school district said they were concerned of student safety when the students made their way to a nearby high school to garner support.
It prompted a heavy police response and lockdown at Elsie Allen High School.
Superintendent Socorro Shiels released at statement Wednesday morning. It read in part:
“I have full confidence that our staff will find the right balance between respecting the students’ desire to be heard and the need to protect campus safety for all students and staff.
For the past few weeks, we have worked in earnest to help students understand that there are many ways to honor their classmate, and we have stressed that the most responsible and thoughtful way to pay tribute to Andy is to stay in school and use after-class time to express their messages”
In the meantime, the group said they will continue to seek justice for Andy.Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:51:56 -0700 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories