Teen jet stowaway ‘a good kid’ but struggling, dad says

airplane

(CNN) — The father of the teen who survived a flight to Hawaii in the wheel well of a jetliner says his son is “a good kid” who has struggled to adjust to life in America.

In a statement released through a San Francisco-area Islamic group, Abdulahi Yusuf said he and his family came to the United States from war-torn Somalia. He identified his son as Yahya Yusuf and said he plans to escort his son back to California from Hawaii.

“We thank everybody for their concern and support, and ask that people continue to respect our privacy during this incredibly difficult time,” Yusuf said.

The 15-year-old Yahya told authorities that he crawled into the wheel well of the Hawaii-bound Boeing 767 and lost consciousness when the plane took off.

He survived the nearly five-hour flight in subzero temperatures at oxygen-depleted heights as high as 38,000 feet, authorities believe.

Discovered after he apparently regained consciousness in Hawaii, the boy has been recovering at a hospital and is in the custody of the state’s child welfare agency, officials there said.

CNN’s Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.