LONDON -- An 11-year-old boy who flew alone to Rome, with no passport or ticket, has told a British newspaper how easy it was to board the plane.
Under the headline, ‘I flew to Rome alone’, Liam Corcoran-Fort tells The Sun newspaper his adventure began simply because he needed to use the bathroom. The breach in security at Manchester Airport comes as Britain begins hosting the Summer Olympics in London. Several workers have been suspended from their jobs as airport and airline officials investigate how the schoolboy passed undetected through security checks.
Liam told The Sun, “I didn’t have anything on me and no one asked me for anything. They smiled at me when I went through.”
His journey began at a grocery store in the north of England on Tuesday where Liam was shopping with his mother, Mary Corcoran. Unhappy after an earlier disagreement, he wandered off and boarded a bus which was heading to Manchester Airport. Once there, Liam followed families through the terminal.
"I didn’t sneak through," he said. "I just wanted to go to the toilet. It wasn’t my fault because I didn’t know. I wasn’t trying to go anywhere I wasn’t allowed. But it was easier than my homework, even easier than computer games."
When Liam spotted a plane he decided to have a look around and then headed for the bathroom. He said: “I opened the door and I was high in the air. I sat on a chair. I was a bit scared. I didn’t know what to do.”
The crew on board the Jet2 flight realized they had an extra passenger and looked after Liam until they landed at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. Meanwhile Liam’s mother thought he’d been abducted, until the police called to say they had found him—in Rome.
“I was crying when I saw him again because I was so relieved. He is the most important thing in my life.” Mary Corcoran told The Sun newspaper. “He is vulnerable and very loving and kind. He doesn’t understand things like a normal 11-year-old and he would trust strangers if they were nice to him.”
Manchester Airport said the matter is now being urgently investigated. "It is clear that documentation has not been checked correctly at security and the boarding gate," the airport said in a statement sent to NBC News. "The boy went through full security screening so the safety of passengers and the aircraft was never compromised. We made preparations to ensure that his return to the U.K. was handled sensitively to avoid any distress."
The airline Jet2 confirmed three members of their staff were suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
Despite learning a few Italian words, Liam said he did not enjoy his two hours in Rome: “It was too big and scary on my own. I just wanted to go home and see my mum.”
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