updated 2/26/2011 8:40:27 AM ET 2011-02-26T13:40:27

A 14-month-old girl who wandered away from her mother and grandmother spent several tense hours trapped inside a time-locked bank vault and authorities pumped fresh air through vents to the crying child until a locksmith freed her, police said.

The locksmith pried the toddler unharmed from the vault Friday night about four hours after she went missing while visiting a grandparent who worked at a Wells Fargo bank branch in the greater Atlanta suburb of Conyers, police said.

Authorities say police and firefighters couldn't free the toddler and feverishly summoned the locksmith after the child apparently strayed into the open vault as the bank was closing Friday — before an employee shut the vault door for the day.

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Conyers Police Chief Gene Wilson told reporters it was a "very tense scene" as authorities stood by along with the relatives, and rescue workers pumped fresh air into vents leading to the vault.

Conyers police, contacted by The Associated Press early Saturday, said they would have no immediate updates.

The child was spotted on security cameras inside the vault, which has a time-release lock, Wilson said. He added that the locksmith used a large drill to breach the vault about four hours after it had been closed.

"That was one of the better moments I've ever witnessed," Wilson said, adding the girl was fine save a needed diaper change.

He said the girl delivered a note written by her grateful mother to the locksmith before heading home.

Authorities did not release the child's name.


Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Toddler becomes locked in bank vault

  1. Closed captioning of: Toddler becomes locked in bank vault

    >>> well, in atlanta, a trip to the bank for a mother and her 14-month-old child turned into a nightmare. while visiting the baby's grandmother who works at the bank, the toddler went miss. the child was then spotted and cameras inside the bank's vault which had a time lock on the door. a lock smith was called in immediately and began working on opening the door.

    >> well, it's my job. i mean, this is what i do all the time. so other than a child being in there, it was a routine job. she was crying before i got to her. she was scared because of the drilling noise and all that. but you know, once i heard her crying, i knew everything was okay.

    >> the ordeal lasted around four hours. rescue crews pumped fresh air into the vault for the little one. in the end, the door was opened and the child and mother reyinded.


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