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Published: Sunday May 4, 2014 MYT 4:15:02 AM
Updated: Sunday May 4, 2014 MYT 4:16:05 AM

Boy who survived flight in wheel well 'no longer in Hawaii'

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A 15-year-old Somali boy who survived a nearly six-hour trip from California to Hawaii stowed away in the wheel well of an airplane has left protective custody in Hawaii, officials said on Saturday.

The teenager was "no longer in Hawaii" according to a brief statement from Hawaii's Department of Human Services. Officials would not reveal when he left the state or where he was headed, citing privacy concerns and the boy's age.

The boy has been in protective custody in Hawaii since he sneaked into the wheel compartment of a Boeing 767 that took off April 20th from San Jose International Airport.

His survival was considered miraculous, given the freezing temperatures and low oxygen levels in the wheel well.

The boy, who was hospitalized after the incident, told investigators he was trying to go to Africa to find his mother.

His mother, Ubah Mohamed Abdulle, said in a radio interview with the Voice of America that she had fled Somalia and was living in a refugee camp in Ethiopia.

She said she was divorced from her husband, who lives in Santa Clara with their son and two of his siblings.

"They were even told that I was dead, but they recently found out that I was alive," she told the broadcast service in a report published on Friday.

The boy's father arrived in Honolulu from California about a week after he was found in the jet's wheel well, according to Child Welfare Services. The agency would not give details about whether father and son were being reunited.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; editing by Edith Honan and Gunna Dickson)

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