AN 11-year-old boy took an international flight without a ticket, passport or boarding pass.
Liam Corcoran was able to evade five security checks for the 2414km flight from Manchester, England, to Rome, Italy.
He boarded the Jet2.com flight LS791 yesterday. He was on his own, the Manchester Evening News reported.
The boy was only noticed when concerned passengers managed to get a message through to the cabin crew. He reached Rome but had to remain on board the plane until it flew back to Manchester.
“This extremely serious matter is now being urgently investigated by officials from the airport and airline. It is clear that documentation has not been checked correctly at security and the boarding gate,” a Manchester Airport spokesman told the paper.
“The boy went through full security screening so the safety of passengers and the aircraft was never compromised. We are now making preparations to ensure that his return to the UK is handled sensitively to avoid any distress.”
Five Jet2.com staff members have been suspended, An accurate head count was not made of passengers on board the flight.
The boy had run away from his mother while they were shopping at Wythenshawe Civic Centre and managed to get to the airport, the newspaper reported.
“It was understood that Liam had followed a family when he got to the packed terminal 1, and that security staff scanned him but failed to realise he was on his own and had no boarding card,” the report stated.
“He then went to one of the gates where passengers were boarding Jet2.com flight LS791 to Rome, and managed to get past a security check without showing a passport or boarding card.”
It is believed Liam then took up one of the seats but crew failed to carry out an accurate headcount to ensure the number of passengers and boarding cards tallied.
The jet took off as normal and it was only during the journey to Italy that passengers became suspicious and told the cabin crew. The crew members alerted the captain who radioed back to Manchester.
Police at Manchester Airport then called the Liam’s anxious mother to tell her that her son was safe and well – but on a plane to Italy.
Liam was met by his mother when he returned to Manchester Airport. She had been contacted after the plane reached Rome and Liam had revealed who he was.
One passenger whow as on the return flight told the Manchester Evening News: “He was very talkative and seemed quite un-fazed by it all. He was just sat there chatting away about how he’d been trying to run away from home.
“He seemed quite innocent really and I don’t think it had sunk in how serious the situation was.”
A Jet2.com spokesperson said: “We are fully investigating the incident as a matter of urgency and the staff involved have been suspended during this investigation.”
Aviation security expert Chris Yates said: “This was a lapse but I don’t believe this was a serious security breach. Anybody who passes through Manchester Airport must be screened whether that is through a full body scanner or a metal detector. That did happen in this instance.