When a young child tries to run away from home, the furthest they normally manage to get is to a friend’s house. Not this 11-year-old boy from Manchester, UK. This is a story about goingo to Rome alone – how 11 year old boy boarded a plane to Italy without a passport or ticket.
In 2012, little Liam Corcoran ran away from his mother while they were shopping at the Wythenshawe civic centre, a mall close to Manchester Airport. What happened after that led to an official investigation and the suspension of 5 members of Jet2.com staff.
Heading to the airport on foot, Liam managed to board a flight to Rome without a passport, boarding card or ticket, and then took a seat by tagging behind another family. The incident occurred at the beginning of the busy summer season, and just one week before the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Upon arrival at terminal one, Liam went unnoticed among the bustle of people heading off on their summer vacations.
The boy was scanned by security staff, but they failed to realise he was on his own and had no boarding card, passport, tickets or money. Liam then arrived in the departure lounge and headed to a gate where passengers were boarding the Jet2.com flight LS791 to Rome.
Another major lapse in security saw the 11-year-old, bypass a 2nd security check at the gate without being asked for his passport or boarding card.
Here the boy tagged behind another family and took up an empty seat on the plane. A headcount failed to alert the airline staff to the discrepancy.
The jet took off as normal and it was only during the journey to Italy that passengers became suspicious of the boy. Liam was very casually telling those around him that he was running away from home.
By the time staff were alerted and the captain informed, Liam was already halfway into his trip to Rome.
The captain radioed Manchester airport, where police informed the mother – who had already reported him missing – that her son had been found safe and well; and that he was on a plane to Italy.
The plane landed at Fiumicino airport in Rome where the boy was asked to remain on board while the other passengers left the aircraft. Liam remained on the plane accompanied by flight crew, as it took off again to return to Manchester.
Manchester airport and Jet2.com have launched a full-scale investigation into how the boy managed to evade so many checks and end up in Italy. Passenger Sarah Swayne, 26, from Nantwich, told the Manchester Evening News: “He was very talkative and seemed quite unfazed 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.”