MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 15-year-old stowaway who flew across the Pacific in the wheel well of a Boeing 767 is speaking out for the first time.

Yahye Abdi, 15, says he crouched down and remembers covering his ears as the plane took off in California but then passed out. Once the plane landed in Hawaii, surveillance cameras caught him running from the plane.

WCCO-TV has learned from KPIX-TV in California that Abdi will now move to Minneapolis to live with his aunt.

Speaking via Google chat Tuesday from a foster home in California, Abdi said he knew what he was doing when he hopped a fence at San Jose International Airport and took a five-plus hour flight to Maui, stowed away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines plane.

The Somali immigrant planned to run away from his Santa Clara, Calif., home where he lived with his father and stepmother. He said he knew the plane was headed to Hawaii and that he wanted to get as far west as he could and get to Africa to see his mother.

“I wanted to find my mom. I haven’t seen her since I was young,” Abdi said.

In April he survived freezing temperatures and very low oxygen levels during a dangerous voyage that most stowaways don’t survive.

“I didn’t care if I end up dying,” he said.

He lost consciousness and said when he woke up after the plane landed, he couldn’t hear or see clearly. He said he was dehydrated when he stumbled into workers after he got off the plane in Maui.

He has since fully recovered and knows it’s a miracle he’s still alive. He is expected to relocate to Minneapolis as early as Friday. Abdi said he’d like to join the Army.

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