The California teen who stowed away on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from San Jose to Maui is returning to his regular everyday routine but took some time to open up about his experience, KPIX 5 reports.
“I took that plane because it was the closest one I could find that was going to go west,” Yahye Abdi, a Somali immigrant, told the news station Tuesday.
The 15-year-old said that he was not afraid during the hazardous trip, where he crouched in the jet’s wheel well for more than five hours.
“It was above the clouds, I could see through the little holes,” Yahye said. He said he had covered his ears when the plane took off, before he lost consciousness—surviving in the unpressurized area, where temperatures can fall below zero.
Yahye has since regained his hearing and has been given a clean bill of health. He did, however, counter his father’s story that he ran away from home because of difficulties at school, insisting that he was unhappy with his stepmom and missed his mom.
“I only did it because I didn’t want to live with my stepmom. Second of all, I wanted to find my mom. I haven’t seen her since I was young,” he told KPIX 5.
His birth mother, whom he hasn’t since he was 7, lives in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.
Despite seeming nonchalant about his death-defying feat, the teen did have a word of caution to those who might be thinking about running away.
“They shouldn’t run away because sometimes they will end up dying,” Yahye warned.